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Rumor says Apple may charge iPad users for iOS 4 update

by on20 July 2010

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Possible, but contradicts iPad's licensing docs and iAd platform

An interesting rumor struck the Internet not too long ago with claims that Apple is planning to charge its tablet consumers for the long anticipated iPad iOS 4 update. Sources at have gone on record to reveal that a small group of trusted iPad app developers have gotten word of the company’s secret plans, and are quietly whispering to one another about its potential effects on the software update's adoption rates.

A small, undisclosed fee may blockade the privilege of receiving multitasking functionality on the world’s favorite superficial tablet device, as the story goes. There are no details regarding how much Apple will charge iPad owners exactly, but regardless of its financial decisions with the software update, we find this spreading rumor a bit hard to believe. For one, the recently launched iAds mobile advertising platform requires iOS 4 to appear in the App Store software. By charging iPad owners to upgrade to the latest mobile OS version, Apple could ironically limit the number of viewers in its mobile advertising audience to only those willing to pony up the cash for the new update.

Back in July 2008, the company decided to slap a $10 update fee on iPhone OS 2.0 for iPod touch users while giving iPhone and iPhone 3G owners free access to the download. As many recall, iOS 2.0 was the first major update in the company’s mobile operating system to introduce the App Store, support for MobileMe, multiple calendars, and that all too familiar calculator that switches from standard to scientific when the device is rotated in landscape mode. On September 9, 2009 during its iPod media event, the company slammed tens of millions of iPod touch users yet again with a discounted $4.95 update to iOS 3.x from the original $9.95 price. Yes, we say “slammed” because there should be no reason why the company demands additional revenue for a software update on a multi-hundred dollar product in the first place.

Nevertheless, the veracity of Stuff’s anonymous claims about the iOS 4 update for the iPad have currently been put on hold. The blog now reports that it has contacted Apple and received a baseless, general “no comment” statement that “Apple doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.” In contrast to Stuff's anonymous claims, Engadget has pointed out that Apple’s iPad licensing docs have been known to carry a provision that the “next major iPad OS software release” will be free. However, if one were to argue semantics, nowhere do the licensing docs include the terms “iOS 4” and “free” in the same sentence. Releases beyond iOS 4, however, may come with a charge.

Straight from the source:

“Apple will provide you any iPad OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPad OS software release following the version of iPad OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free. For example, if your iPad originally shipped with iPad 3.x software, Apple would provide you with any iPad OS software updates it might release up to and including the iPad 4.x software release. Such updates and releases may not necessarily include all of the new software features that Apple releases for newer iPad models.”

Last modified on 20 July 2010
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