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It's the new norm apparently - everyone is doing this.

Apple gives OS X away but nobody has yet got the memo that you are becoming the product. (Yosemite does exactly that by default - you can disable it though.)

I thoroughly doubt that Apple's endgame here is to make their users the product – given that the operating system is only available to people who have paid them money in the first place.

A much more pragmatic conclusion is that they think this feature is something that users want. And in Apple's case, as well as others, it probably is.

It could end up like cable TV. Initially you just pay for the service, eventually you keep paying but also get sold.

You paid for the hardware and the OS that shipped with it. Developing a new OS version costs Apple non trivial amounts of money - development, deployment, testing, bandwidth, support etc. and they used to charge for them up until just a few years ago. Something's got to fund it - things like pushing more of Apple's online services, gathering user data etc provide some ROI to Apple.

You might be paying for the hardware and two or three OS versions. It's in Apple's interest to keep everyone upgrading, so they might as well just put the average expected OS upgrade cost into the hardware, and rely on planned obsolescence (which is pretty easy as computer hardware keeps improving) to keep that expectation relatively low. Sure, a few users will upgrade hardware all the time and a few will never upgrade, but that doesn't throw off the economics too much.

(I also feel like analyzing specific pricing decisions is missing the forest for the trees of "If you're not paying for it, you're the product." It mostly applies to whether an entire business model is free, e.g. Facebook. Several years back, Microsoft used to give out free memory-card-to-USB adapters for the original Xbox, intended for keyboards for MMORPGs, but also useful for jailbreakers. I requested one. Did I become the product?)

Are you intentionally ignoring the fact that Apple rakes in 95% of profits in the mobile sector?

Each thousand dollar phone is making many times its manufacturing costs in profits. I expect that there is a large enough margin on phones sold to fully fund R&D not just for iPhones and iOS but the Apple Car, its OS and battery technology, and whatever other projects are in the works.

Apple makes their money selling premium ITC. They don't need to sell your personal details.

They have to improve their products continuously to be competitive in the marketplace. Apple's competitive advantage is fundamentally in their software, not their hardware.

They innovate in the hardware space and physical design space, but all of their competitors will make copies of their hardware advantages after a few years. To keep on being competitive, their entire experience has to be superior. And what is harder to copy properly is the software experience.

Engineering cost wise, it's cheaper to just keep the software train rolling than to have older versions persisting that you have to continuously support. That is why they don't charge for it, because it's cheaper for them if you upgrade sooner and become part of the marginal few they can ignore if your a straggler. And 'free' has far higher adoption rates than even $1.00.

I am curious how you think Spotlight web suggestions would work without sending data to Apple.

Do you expect your laptop to be crawling the internet ?

If you like spotlight web suggestions you don't turn it off. That is your decision and Apple provides a way to do it.

Does it though? All of spotlight's extra functionality seems to work even with wifi turned off. Even things like currency conversion rates seem to be stored locally.

EDIT: I just noticed I have spotlight settings turned off. Unless I forgot turning it off, I was either asked whether I wanted to turn it on, or it's off by default now.

which setting is it under?

Spotlight suggestions is the issue, and there are settings for both Safari and Spotlight to adjust so searches are not shared. This article shows the steps to disable:


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