Apple’s Life Cycle and Security

I don’t think I need to say I’m a Mac lover. I’ve been very satisfied with my Macs, and love OS X. But I got to agree with CNET about Apple’s recent trends.

Product Life Cycle
Apple’s been pretty firm about the 5 year rule for hardware. After that period, your not really getting hardware support. It’s a pretty solid rule, and one you can depend on (for good or bad). Developers, both hardware and software are well aware of it.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of an official product life cycle for software. Microsoft has a clear product life cycle. I sincerely hope Apple matches Microsoft and adopts a similar policy. For at least that length of time (if not longer), and sticks to it. The mystery involving product life is a real turn off for companies. How can you evaluate what Macs will cost? A good security issue may require the entire office upgrade their OS version. In such cases, a product cycle would allow an IT department to know very well what it will cost to keep Macs afloat. And dispel some cost myths.

I would like to propose a Security/Product Cycle Policy for Apple to adopt:
A product will be officially supported for 5 years after general availability. During this time, full support will be provided. This is the same as Microsofts policy. During this time. All security and bug fixes are available. No new features are required (though could be offered). For example, a WebCore update would fall in this category. Keeping Safari up to date and fixing rendering bugs. New OS X features such as Exposé, would not. That’s for a new product, and new product cycle.

A Security Phase would proceed for a period of minimum 2 years, during this time, only security bugs will be fixed. Keeping Safari up to date, and fixing crashes wouldn’t qualify. Only bugs that provide a security risk.

So in theory, a company can have a system for 7 years, and be able to maintain it for the original cost. Of course they will most likely want new features, and would upgrade in that time. But they have a buffer up to 7 years. This compares with Windows XP’s current product cycle.

A very inclining offer for IT departments. Buy a pretty powerful computer, and know for 5 years you have hardware support for new OS versions. For 7 years, your current OS will be secure. And we mean Mac OS X secure. Not Windows Secure 😉

Apple needs to use it’s strong point. A solid UNIX security model. Take advantage of the fact that it can do so. Security is a big advantage the Mac platform has. It will cost more to support older OS’s. But in the end, will make the OS much more attractive than it is now.

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