In a ridiculous, duh-inducing article, author Chris Taylor explains how Apple doesn’t make money on apps because their product focus is in hardware.
This profound insight should surprise exactly no one as anyone who has observed Apple anytime in the last 10 years or so, or — as the author pointed out — pretty much since the first iPod.
The question is not why did Apple make iWork and OSX free, it’s why they didn’t make those things available at a really low cost (say $5) that doesn’t even feel like spending money, and get some cream to skim off the top. The “free” (which is only really free if you buy a new Apple product) thing really says more about how threatened they are feeling by their competitors that they feel the need to throw their productivity suite at people’s faces than it does about being innovative in how they are marketing and selling their products. We should realize by now that when you buy an Apple product, you are buying it because of the device not because of the stuff you can run on the device.