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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac OS X > Yearly OS updates will cut current OS support to all Macs to less then 3 years!!!

Yearly OS updates will cut current OS support to all Macs to less then 3 years!!!
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Feb 17, 2012, 03:37 AM
 
With Apple moving to a annual OS update, How long do you think Apple will support current Macs? If I buy a Mac Pro this summer (Sped up by 10.8's early release), will it still be able to run Mac OS 2015 or will Apple drop support for it with the 2015 OS?

This is really scaring me as I am low income and use a Mac Pro for it's expandability (mid-life video card upgrade, 4 HD bays (OS/Apps, Files, Scratch drive for Apps that need it etc).

If I some how get the mid range (8-core since 4-core with 4 RAM slots is limiting and a down-grade from my current Mac Pro 1,1) That's going to be $4,500. That's allot of money (yes my current Mac Pro I got for $2,999 with video card upgrade, WiFi/Bluetooth) but spending the extra $1,000 to maintain the level of upgradability of my 2.66Ghz System, scares me if in 36 months Apple doesn't support it anymore, even 48 months (2016 support drop) scares me. As I am on limited income.

Why you ask I need to be current with the OS? I do limited support and need to be running the current OS so I can help support people. But if a 2012 Mac Pro is only supported until 2015 OS wise, I can't get the moneyI need to upgrade every 3 years (I also keep my older Macs for various things).
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Feb 17, 2012, 04:29 AM
 
Macs have dropped out of support (support status: obsolete) after five years for years and years now. This means you are no longer able to get official parts from Apple after that time.

This just means that you will not be able to install the latest version of the operating system after about four to four-and-a-half years.

If you're in support, the Mac Pro is probably not the ideal machine to have, though.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 04:57 AM
 
I use the Mac Pro for it's extensive Hard drives (OS/Apps+File+scrarch+more files Family videos etc). iMac 27 won't fit the bill and I don't feel save with external storage. If I buy the 2012 Mac Pro and the last supported OS is 2016, I will buy the Mac Pro this summer, but if the last supported OS will be 2014, the cost is too high.

Yes the iMac has the top end Radeon video card, but I need the extra space (and having to replace the monitor every 3 years). If Apple supports the 2012 Mac Pro through 2017 (aka Mac OS 10.11) I am happy,

The real question is "How many OS's will Apple support per Mac with annual OS upgrades?"

Also Apple keeps parts for all Macs for 7 years before they EOL repairs.

I am on government disability so $95/month isn't much to live on. I might have a paying job, but disability caps that out at $500 and $3,000 savings. Oh add to that that if I decide to work part time and get $1,500 take home instead, they take 80% of net for my housing (screwed up).

So this is why I alway went Towers to get the longest possible supported OS life out of my Macs. I am hard on my Macs and need the longest lasting model.
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Feb 17, 2012, 05:31 AM
 
If you only need the latest OS so you can help troubleshoot (been there), then you are fortunate because the game has changed. Don't forget you can now run virtual versions of OS X client.
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Feb 17, 2012, 05:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
If you only need the latest OS so you can help troubleshoot (been there), then you are fortunate because the game has changed. Don't forget you can now run virtual versions of OS X client.
Yes, but the wrong way round.

I doubt you'll be able to run 10.8 in a VM on a 10.7 machine.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 05:44 AM
 
I find each OS drastically improved my productivity and I will use 10.8 extremely effectively. I can't stay on a older OS. I was on OS X Beta the day it came out (and used it full time) so I really need the newest OS. bottom line is I need to be running the latest Mac OS as my primary OS.

The main question is how many OS versions will Macs be supported for now? Will it still be the 4 OS's that has been the standard until now (excluding the Intel switch which was as little as 3 years (came with 10.4 support dropped with 10.6 (G5's, late G4's). Support was dropped in fall 2009, which was 4 years since 10.4.
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Feb 17, 2012, 06:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Write View Post
Also Apple keeps parts for all Macs for 7 years before they EOL repairs.
This is incorrect.

Compare:
obsolete site:hardmac.com - Google Seawch

Dropping support for late 2005 Power Mac G5s in September 2011, for example, meant a FIVE-year cutoff, as the PM G5 was sold until August 2006, IIRC, when it was replaced with the Mac Pro.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 06:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Write View Post
The main question is how many OS versions will Macs be supported for now? Will it still be the 4 OS's that has been the standard until now (excluding the Intel switch which was as little as 3 years (came with 10.4 support dropped with 10.6 (G5's, late G4's). Support was dropped in fall 2009, which was 4 years since 10.4.
Yes, but 10.6 purposely did not bring much new functionality to the table that would have been of any value to non-Intel machines.

Almost all of the 10.6 advances were under the hood.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 06:14 AM
 
Right now, we're talking about support of a beta of OS X distributed to developers only.

As far as we know, Apple does not support Macs with certain integrated graphics cards, GeForce 7300 and the ATI X1600 (Mobility). It seems to boil down to graphics capabilities and suggests to me that older Mac Pros are supported once you update the graphics card.

In any case, in my experience I need to upgrade computers roughly every 4 years anyway, so 4~5 years of OS X support is plenty.
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Feb 17, 2012, 07:53 AM
 
There are two theories. One is the graphics cards, the other is 64-bit EFI. That certain early Mac Pros are not supported points to the second theory.

Honestly: The one thing that bothers me about the HW requirements is the Mac Pros. I don't have one, and I have ridiculed their value for years, but that price should bring extended support.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 08:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
There are two theories. One is the graphics cards, the other is 64-bit EFI. That certain early Mac Pros are not supported points to the second theory.
Good point, I didn't think about that.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Honestly: The one thing that bothers me about the HW requirements is the Mac Pros. I don't have one, and I have ridiculed their value for years, but that price should bring extended support.
Yes, but how much? 2008 models are ~4 years old when they may not be supported. Would 5 years be ok? It's been too long to remember how long support for the DecAlpha workstations was that I used to work on so many moons ago. I think it may have been 5 years.

No matter the reason, I'd like to know why support was cut: what has changed so dramatically from 10.7 to 10.8?
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Feb 17, 2012, 09:32 AM
 
There is a certain amount of wishful thinking in the EFI64 theory. EFI64 is needed to get more memory to the kernel. Requiring EFI64 could mean something new requiring lots of kernel memory. ZFS - and by implication any modern filesystem - needs lots of memory.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Yes, but how much? 2008 models are ~4 years old when they may not be supported. Would 5 years be ok? It's been too long to remember how long support for the DecAlpha workstations was that I used to work on so many moons ago. I think it may have been 5 years.
Never had the pleasure of supporting workstations on that level, but there are usually "extended support" policies. One problem for Apple is that they stop providing patches for current operating systems so soon. It's an either-or thing, in my opinion: Either you keep patching older OS versions, or you make sure that all machines can be updated to the latest OS.

It also hurts from the fragmentation angle. If there is a significant batch of users who stay on 10.6 or 10.7, developers can't use the notification API for fear of leaving too many users on the sidelines. Now that upgrades are cheaper, the hurdle to upgrade is smaller, but things like this make it harder again. If it's so hard to support 32-bit EFI, how about just writing a new firmware for the MPs? It would bring follow-on issues (64-bit kexts for the hardware) but they need not be large.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 11:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
This is incorrect.

Compare:
obsolete site:hardmac.com - Google Seawch

Dropping support for late 2005 Power Mac G5s in September 2011, for example, meant a FIVE-year cutoff, as the PM G5 was sold until August 2006, IIRC, when it was replaced with the Mac Pro.
Its 5 years everywhere except in California where the law states they have to maintain them for much longer, I forget how long exactly. They do keep parts for servers around longer some of the time.
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Feb 17, 2012, 01:45 PM
 
I upgraded to a new Mac just before Lion came out, and that was one that was bought when Tiger was new. That machine was four years old. Generally I find that's around the point that Apple stops offering software support.

I will say though that I'm kind of irritated that my Dad's 2Ghz Core 2 Duo isn't going to be supported given that I'm sure the machine could run it like a champ. I don't see any GUI features in X.8 that are so whizzbang they'd make his machine crawl.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 05:13 PM
 
The system specs are final. This is how it has been with every Developer Preview. The only execution I think was 10.4 which changed from 800mhz G4 to a 867mhz G4.

As for graphics card, my Mac Pro 1,1 has a 5870 in it. I downloaded the developer preview to see if my system was supported and it wasn't even with the faster graphics card.

I have known since 10.6 was released my Mac Pro would not be supported with 10.8 as 10.8 would require EFI 64, but what has changed and pissed off a lot of people is the "shortened" OS upgrade cycle. 10.8 on the previous OS cycle wasn't due until Q2 2013. and I kept telling my mom her early 2008 white Macbook would be supported as (I thought) it was EFI64).

The Question I am asking and wondering with the change from two year OS cycles to annual cycles, how much shorter will Mac support be with the current OS?

32-bit Intel was supported 5 1/2 years and 3 OS versions (10.4-10.6) from first introduction. 64-bit CPU's with 32bit EFI's were supported 6-years and 4 OS versions (10.4-10.7).

Now if Apple was to only support a Mac for 3 OS versions, then that means from the day a new OS comes out, that Mac will be supported for 3-years with the first month of year 4 dropping support for that computer (36 months of full OS support at best).

Can you afford to replace your Mac Pro every 3 years at the longest end? I can't…
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Feb 17, 2012, 05:52 PM
 
I don't think they plan on supporting a number of OS revisions per machine, rather they figure out what features they're going to use and then determine which machines can handle them.

Though I honestly don't see how 64 bit EFI should be a requirement for the new OS.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 06:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
I don't think they plan on supporting a number of OS revisions per machine, rather they figure out what features they're going to use and then determine which machines can handle them.

Though I honestly don't see how 64 bit EFI should be a requirement for the new OS.
That actually makes a lot of sense: Only 64-bit kernel means only 64-bit drivers to test.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 17, 2012, 06:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Write View Post
Now if Apple was to only support a Mac for 3 OS versions, then that means from the day a new OS comes out, that Mac will be supported for 3-years with the first month of year 4 dropping support for that computer (36 months of full OS support at best).
How do you come to make that assumption? Apple knows full well how often people upgrade their machines, and making it three years will rile up people -- especially when there is no good technical reason. You could equally well make the argument that Apple will continue releasing OS X updates for as long as it does now (measured in years and not releases).

Shorter upgrade cycles are overall a positive thing (if Apple keeps up or improves the quality of OS releases, that is), not something negative. And even if we lived in a hypothetical world where Apple would release 10.8 in 2013, you'd be using 10.7 up until 2013. So you'd be using the same OS release you're using now. The only difference would be that it wouldn't bug you that you're one release behind
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Feb 17, 2012, 07:27 PM
 
I'm pretty happy with the fact that since I've purchased my MacBook Pro in late 2008, there have been four versions of OS X and only one new version of Windows.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 06:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
I'm pretty happy with the fact that since I've purchased my MacBook Pro in late 2008, there have been four versions of OS X and only one new version of Windows.
Bingo. Apple is innovating too rapidly, help me!!
Personally, I'd prefer a slightly slower pace if quality of the releases improves. Or Apple could adopt a tick-tock strategy: a feature release followed by an infrastructure release.
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Feb 18, 2012, 08:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Bingo. Apple is innovating too rapidly, help me!!
Personally, I'd prefer a slightly slower pace if quality of the releases improves. Or Apple could adopt a tick-tock strategy: a feature release followed by an infrastructure release.
I'm hoping that that is what they're doing - that this is the "Snow Leopard", simply because there is no way that Apple's highly talented OS team has to work for a year to make a new notepad app.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 05:56 PM
 
I am all for faster OS releases, but I am not for at the same time drastically shortened life of a Mac. A Mac that would have been current for 5 years could now be current only for 3 years. That means a higher price tag for the Mac in the long run.

Maybe others don't care about being not he current OS, but I do since I do support part time and I have to know about the current OS and Apple software. but I am also on extremely limited income and don't have the ability to buy a new Mac every 36 months. A
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Feb 18, 2012, 06:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Write View Post
I am all for faster OS releases, but I am not for at the same time drastically shortened life of a Mac. A Mac that would have been current for 5 years could now be current only for 3 years.
As of right now, it looks to be about 4.5 years.

Your three years are complete conjecture and panic-induced fear-mongering.

Of course, this entire thread is conjecture, as nobody knows what Apple will be doing in the future. All we have to go on is their past and present behaviour.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 07:03 PM
 
We all knew that 10.8 would require 64-bit EFI, but the change to yearly is the worry. Apple will most likely continue to drop support for older Macs with each OS release.

With 10.9 etc, how is Apple going to deter main the cut-off point? I am hoping it will be at least 10.10 before Core I processors are the minimum requirements, but 10.9 I am not sure were Apple is going to cut people off.

3 years is a bit off, or is it? Could Apple only allow any Mac support for 2-3 OS versions?

The question should be With year OS upgrades, will supported Macs life be shortened from the 4-5 years of support?
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Feb 18, 2012, 07:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Of course, this entire thread is conjecture, as nobody knows what Apple will be doing in the future. All we have to go on is their past and present behaviour.
True to a point, but we can look forward based on technology expectations. Apple doesn't arbitrarily deprecate old stuff. Only a fool would not have seen that Classic support would end after Mac OS X reached maturity, or that PPC support would end after Intel support reached critical mass, or that 32 bit support would end with solid support for 64 bits. Apple is driving technology forward, but end-of-life for older technology seems to be based on major boundaries. I expect Carbon support will be the next legacy technology to go away completely. When that will occur I don't know.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 07:51 PM
 
Carbon is no longer a well-defined set, and in fact, quite a bit of Cocoa relies on it. Apple may very well deprecate some more of the old APIs - in fact I count on them to do so - but that's not the same as dropping support for the entire set as one thing.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 08:54 PM
 
I think I have a theory for the next OS system requirements for the next 3 OS's\
10.9 - Mac with built in DIsplay Port
10.10 - Core i3/i5/i7 Mac
10.11 - Mac with built in Thunderbolt.

Any other ideas how Apple will cut off old Macs in the coming OS versions?
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Feb 18, 2012, 09:13 PM
 
Restricting 10.10 to Core i series chips would obsolete some Macs that were only just 3 years old, some in fact would be less than 3 years, still within Applecare (White MacBooks have only been EOL'd for Edu customers in the last couple of weeks). I don't see that happening.
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Feb 18, 2012, 09:22 PM
 
What are the next logical cuts off's for upcoming OS's?
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Feb 18, 2012, 11:33 PM
 
Honestly Mountain Lion feels just like Lion as far as speed goes. I'm really wondering if there's anything under the hood beyond the iCloud support. To be honest I wouldn't be surprised if they moved to a free through the App store model because you paid for Lion thing.
     
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Feb 19, 2012, 07:04 AM
 
They could require at least GF 9400m - that would let them use SSE4.1 and at least basic graphic processing. Core i3/i5/i7 makes sense as a cutoff - there are a few new instructions there, and after that everything has at least 4 virtual cores. After that, I suspect that Sandy Bridge graphics will be too weak (i.e., you need discrete or Ivy Bridge). Even further along, I think Apple will cut off anyone who's not using Haswell and that Transactional Memory, but that's likely a decade out, as Haswell isn't even out until 2013.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 19, 2012, 09:22 PM
 
Also consider that they don't necessarily have to drop supported systems every single time. Hypothetically they could update the OS every year but only change system requirements every two years. Yearly releases are somewhat uncharted territory so it's hard to predict what will happen later on.
     
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Feb 20, 2012, 01:38 AM
 
They have already started the ball rolling of cutting off hardware every year (Lion but hardware as well as Mountain Lion). I completely expect Apple to drop even more Mac support next year with 10.9
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Feb 20, 2012, 02:17 AM
 
I don't think the goal is to cut off machines as quick as possible. Generally Macs will only run the newest software for about 4.5 years.
     
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Feb 20, 2012, 05:45 AM
 
Since Applecare lasts 3 years, it seems sensible to assume that Apple will have to support OS updates for at least 3 years after a Mac is discontinued. Thing is, they still sell refurb models available with full Applecare so you are creeping towards 5 years from discontinuation.

I haven't stumbled across one in a while as I'm not with an AASP any more but Apple used to strike custom support deals with big customers. I once repaired an iMac which had a 5 year hardware warranty on it. I don't know if it had full Applecare support along with that.

Seems to me they aren't going to be able to clamp down much on the support period.
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Feb 20, 2012, 05:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Write View Post
They have already started the ball rolling of cutting off hardware every year (Lion but hardware as well as Mountain Lion). I completely expect Apple to drop even more Mac support next year with 10.9
… yes, but except for your fear, you have brought forth no arguments that Apple wants to end supporting machines after three years. Even if they switch to a yearly release cycle, as long as they deprecate one generation at a time,* support will still be as long as it is now.

* I doubt they'd randomly do that. Typically, the reason to cut off support is a feature that is lacking. In this case, apparently it is GPU and EFI support (I'm not saying that Apple couldn't support these machines, I'm saying that they use these features to decide which machine makes the cut and which doesn't).
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Feb 23, 2012, 11:26 AM
 
I wonder if this support cycle is tied to the number of macs sold recently? As more and more newer macs are sold compared to previous years, there are less older machines as a percentage of the total still in use. Couple that with architectural changes in the CPUs and chipsets, Apple may have decided to cut off older machines because the return vs. effort is lower.

3 years is short, but nothing has indicated it will be always be 3 years from now on. Someone just pulled that out of their ass.

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Feb 23, 2012, 12:05 PM
 
I think Apple wants to keep their customers happy, because happy customers are repeat customers. If the length of OS support is significantly less than 4 years for a sizable portion of customers, people will vote with their wallets. I'd be very surprised if it is 3 years.
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