Update: After we posted this story, reader Nate emailed us to suggest that if you find yourself in Rupert Jones' shoes (with a new iOS device that requires Leopard/iTunes 10 for sync support, but still running Tiger on your Intel Mac), call AppleCare. He says that Apple's support team will ask you for your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch serial number... and then send you a copy of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, free of charge. No word on whether this is official policy or merely an ad-hoc accommodation, and it's possible that the upgrade deal is only available to US customers, but it's worth a shot.
Rupert Jones of the Guardian recently discovered -- to his utter shock and dismay -- that his four-year-old MacBook running a nearly four-year-old OS can't run current software without being upgraded. His MacBook runs Tiger, which means he can't run iTunes 10, which further means he can't sync with any of Apple's latest portable gear.
Anyone reading this probably knows the next step: pay to upgrade to Leopard, download iTunes 10, and get on with your day/week/life. In fact, I'm willing to bet that our readers knew about OS X Leopard when it first launched in late 2007, and chose an upgrade path long ago, whether it was buying Leopard on a disc or upgrading to a new Mac with the OS pre-installed. Most of you probably also moved up to Snow Leopard when it launched, or within a few months.
Rupert Jones didn't do either of those things. In the three and a half years since OS X Leopard's release, he chose to stick with an older iteration of Mac OS X. And four years later, he's blaming Apple for his inability to run current software or sync with current hardware. According to Jones, Apple is "penalizing" him and "thousands of other loyal customers," and not enabling iTunes 10 to run on older versions of Mac OS X amounts to telling these customers their computers are obsolete.
"It seems we have been left with gadgets we can't use, unless we pay more money for a software update," Jones opines. There's a basic problem underlying this argument: like many people, Jones apparently doesn't understand the difference between a software update and an upgrade. That difference is usually simple, and it boils down to dollars. Updates are (mostly) free. Upgrades are (mostly) not.
iTunes, Tiger, and irrational ire: The difference between updates and upgrades originally appeared on TUAW on Sat, 21 May 2011 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.