updated 01:10 pm EST, Fri January 19, 2007
802.11n update: $1.99
Apple has confirmed that it intends to charge customers a fee to download the software that will enable the built-in 802.11n functionality in its Wi-Fi cards which shipped in some MacBook and MacBook Pro systems. Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that all Core 2 Duo and Intel Xeon-based Macs -- with the exception of the 17-inch 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo iMac -- already has the 802.11n chip during his keynote speech at Macworld. The fee, which Apple says amounts to $1.99, will appear on the company's website once its new AirPort Base Station begins shipping next month. Customers who purchase the new Base Station will receive the software update for free, but Apple has said it is required to charge customers for the software upgrade due to generally accepted accounting principals, according to News.com.
"The nominal distribution fee for the 802.11n software is required in order for Apple to comply with generally accepted accounting principles for revenue recognition, which generally require that we charge for significant feature enhancements, such as 802.11n, when added to previously purchased products," said Apple spokeswoman Lynn Fox.
The new wireless standard boasts a large increase in bandwidth over the previous 802.11g standard, offering a longer range while providing backward compatibility with older wireless standards. The 802.11n standard will likely see ratification later this year, but the Wi-Fi Alliance has said it will begin certifying products based on a draft of the standard.