Will Apple's free software finally destroy Microsoft?

Today in Apple: Apple's free software may hurt Microsoft badly. Plus: A review of OS X Mavericks, and no Touch ID on new iPads

Apple's Free Software and Microsoft

Apple just made OS X Mavericks and the iLife and iWork applications free. Fast Company speculates on how this will hurt Microsoft and its Windows franchise.

The largest benefit to Apple, however, could come through the disruption it might bring to Microsoft's business model. Last year, Redmond brought in $19.23 billion from the Windows division, with 65% of that coming from licensing its operating system to OEMs. With Apple offering its sleeker, better-reviewed operating system now for free, Microsoft's pricing for Windows--both to average consumers and enterprise customers, as well as possibly OEMs--will seem outlandishly high by comparison.

Apple also decided to make its iLife and iWork productivity suite free, another headache for Microsoft, which continues to generate significant revenues from its Office suite of products. Certainly, Apple's productivity suite doesn't have the adoption rates of Microsoft's Office and Excel programs. But by offering its suite for free, Apple--of all companies--makes Microsoft look greedy for deciding this year to start charging for Office 365 on an annual subscription basis: $99 per year. As Apple executive Eddy Cue snarked, "Others would have you pay a small fortune" to use their software.

More at Fast Company

I think it's a little too early to be writing Microsoft's obituary. But there's no doubt that these moves by Apple make its mobile and desktop platforms more appealing than Windows in terms of software costs.

We'll have to wait and see how things play out though to really know how much it will hurt Microsoft. They can't be happy about this in Redmond though, it's yet another smack upside their heads by Apple.

A Review of OS X Mavericks

PCMag takes a look at what OS X Mavericks has to offer.

Year after year, Apple proves that it knows exactly what's needed in an operating system upgrade. Just like the last few upgrades of Apple's desktop-and-laptop operating system, OS X Mavericks (free) smoothly slots in a few hundred new features, but doesn't force you to forget what you already knew about OS X or send you on wild-goose chases for features that you used to rely on.

Once again, Mavericks shows that Apple got it right when it chose to create separate operating systems for computers on one hand and for phones and tablets on the other. OS X is the smoothest, most reliable, most convenient, and most manageable consumer-level operating system on the planet, and you'll need a very good reason to choose anything else.

OS X remains the best consumer-level desktop operating system, despite Microsoft's impressive catch-up in Windows 8.1. Top-notch, unobtrusive security is a major plus, as is tight integration with social media and the ability to run Windows applications through third-party apps.

More at PCMag

Looks like PCMag really liked OS X Mavericks. Wow. I bet there are a lot of happy upgraders out there in Mac land.

I've been running OS X Mavericks on an older iMac and so far it's worked really well.

The Lack of Touch ID on the new iPads

PCMag has another article that examines the lack of Touch ID on the new iPad Air and retina iPad mini.

This afternoon, Apple rolled out the latest iterations of its tablet line: the iPad Air and the new iPad mini. Though the new iPads are smaller, lighter, and faster than the previous models, they lack the great new Touch ID fingerprint reader of the iPhone 5s.

Instead of Touch ID, consider securing your iPad with a complex alphanumeric password. You can access this by opening Settings, tapping General, tapping Passcode Lock, entering your passcode (if you have one), and toggle Simple Passcode off. You can now enter a much longer and more secure passphrase.

Touch ID, or its next iteration, is coming to iPad but it's not coming today. Which is a shame, but we probably won't have long to wait. In the meantime, be sure to lock down your iPad just as carefully as you do your iPhone.

More at PCMag

It's definitely a shame that Touch ID didn't make it onto the new iPads. But I doubt it will hurt sales in any significant way, and I'm sure it will be added in the next iteration of the iPad. In the meantime, using a passcode should suffice for most people.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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