Cost of Macintosh 512K Upgrade
I just heard that the upgrade to the 512K Mac will cost $995.
My next question is: is Apple out of its collective mind?
I think this price is pretty outrageous. I am a firm believer that the
upgrade should have been free to all current Mac owners, or at worst,
available at a heavy discount. There are few reasons for this belief.
1) I don't think too many people out there will disagree that 128K is
simply not enough standard RAM for serious applications work. There
should have been 256K or 512K in the standard Mac.
2) There is reason to believe that there is quite a substantial extra
profit margin in the price of the Mac, since Apple alledgedly
considered seriously a price of $1995 before deciding on $2495.
Certainly, this $500 cushion is enough to pay the cost to Apple
of upgrading a Macintosh, or pretty close to it.
3) (I think I first read this point in BYTE). One of the major facets
of the Macintosh design philosophy was that there would be only
one standard configuration. This would allow developers to more
easily implement applications, etc. since all Macs would have
identical architecture. However, by offering an expensive upgrade
which the majority will probably not be able to afford, Apple is
creating a second standard and violating their own philosophy.
Also, since most of the really useful and complex applications
will be written for the 512K version, someone with a 128K version
with not enough funds to upgrade will be condemned to mediocrity.
The only way Apple could maintain their goal of standardization
would be to offer a free upgrade to all current Mac owners.
4) Lastly, a more emotional reason. When Apple put out the Macintosh,
most agreed it was pretty amazing, but seriously questioned its
practicality--it seemed to be a rather experimental design. It
was do or die for Apple; at one point Jobs said something along the
lines that if the Mac didn't sell, the Apple would deserve a place
as a second-rate computer company. They took quite a risk by
putting out something so radically different than anything else on the
marketplace. It turned out that many of us who saw the Mac's
potential bought one, helping the machine through it's uncertain
infancy and making it one of the best-selling personal computers
in recent years. Now it seems that Apple is giving those same buyers
a cold slap in the face by effectively making their machines
obsolete, unless, of course, they can manage to come up with the
exorbitant sum they are charging for the upgrade. Personally,
I think this is a pretty crappy attitude.
I think the only way Apple will reconsider is if they receive an loud
outcry from current Mac owners. I'd like to organize some sort of letter
campaign or some such thing--I'm open to suggestions. If we can get a
huge number of protesting letters pouring into Apple, maybe we can get
their absurd upgrade policy to be more reasonable.