Apple will charge Mac users $4.99 to turn on faster, longer-range wireless technology included with machines equipped with Intel's Core 2 Duo or Xeon processors, a pair of Mac enthusiast Web sites reports. According to AppleInsider and MacFixIt, Apple will levy the fee for software necessary to enable the 802.11n draft standard, a still-unsanctioned wireless protocol that boasts five times the speed and twice the range of 802.11b/g. All Macs running Core 2 Duo or Xeon processors, with the exception of the entry-level 17-inch 1.83GHz iMac, have 802.11n technology built in, but not switched on.
The $179 AirPort Extreme Base Station, which Apple announced a week ago, will include the enabling patch, the company said. AppleInsider and MacFixIt, however, said Apple will tag the patch with a $4.99 fee for Mac owners who don't buy the new AirPort and who want to use the 802.11n protocol with third-party wireless access points. Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for confirmation.