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Apple to back-track on ‘anti upgrade’ policy?

Apple spin docs go into overdrive to counter negative user reaction

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Apple appears to be rethinking its 'anti-upgrade' policy. According to Mac-oriented Web site MacOS Rumors, "reliable" Apple sources have said the company is now planning to fix the block on PowerPC 7400 (aka G4) upgrades in a future firmware update for the blue'n'white Power Mac G3. That block was introduced in the last update, taking the G3's boot EPROM from version 1.0 to 1.1, and prevents the computer from starting up if the user has installed a PPC7400 CPU upgrade card. MacOS Rumors' sources claim Apple only made the move to prevent all those sneaky CPU upgrade merchants offering Motorola's latest processor before it was able. A fair point, but you have to wonder, about a company that feels it can't offer a more compelling PPC7400-based PC than a G4 upgrade card, especially when anyone in the market for that card isn't going to buy a new Power Mac G4 because their blue'n'white G3 isn't yet a year old. The sources also suggest that there has been much dissent among the Apple rank and file over the anti-upgrade policy -- as we reported previously, even tech support didn't appear fully up-to-date with the situation -- leading to the current turnaround. That said, we suspect talk of the block as simply being insurance against Apple being "surprise attacked" by XLR8, Newer Tech et al, being clever spin on Apple's part. Of course, there remains the issue of whether future machines will be upgradeable. There was some initial concern that the upcoming Power Mac G4s based on the Sawtooth motherboard would prevent upgrades by placing the machine's boot EPROM on the CPU daughtercard. That now appears not to be the case -- this approach was only used with prototype boards. However, Web site AppleInsider has reported that the motherboard after Sawtooth, codenamed Shark, uses this ROM-on-daughtercard system. ®

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