Apple will end support for AIM iChat logins on older versions of Mac OS X

The other day, this post by MacRumors caught my eye — Apple to End Support for AIM iChat Logins on Older Versions of OS X Starting June 30:

Apple has announced in a recent support note (via ZDNet) that it will end AIM iChat login support for users running versions of OS X below 10.7.2 Lion on June 30, 2014.

The change will affect those who use their mac.com and me.com addresses as AIM IDs to log into iChat on older systems, as users running compatible versions of OS X Snow Leopard and OS X Lion can upgrade to OS X Mavericks for free.

Guess what? I’m exactly among the users affected by such change. It is not a major inconvenience, but it’s an inconvenience nonetheless. My preferred setup for chatting is my 17-inch PowerBook G4 with an external iSight camera attached, and I typically use my mac.com address as AIM ID to chat. This change feels arbitrary and a ‘planned obsolescence’ kind of move on Apple’s part, and it does affect quite a number of people. (Note that, at the end of the article, it’s mentioned that the share of systems running older versions of OS X affected by this latest change is 19%, which is not exactly a small number.) When you open iChat on an older version of Mac OS X, you get this message:

#alttext#

So you’re given some vague security concerns as an excuse (same goes for the linked Apple support note). I see it more as yet another move to get users to update to newer systems, and I’d like to point out that, while there are people who prefer older systems for the geekiest reasons, there are also people who still use high-end G4 and G5 Power Macs because they invested thousands of dollars (euros, pounds, etc.) on these machines — still very capable systems — and perhaps they simply can’t afford to upgrade just yet.

Again, it’s not a huge inconvenience, but I think that when it comes to chatting, users should be left with the widest possible range of options. Anyway, bear in mind that you still can use iChat with other account types:

#alttext#

After June 30, 2014, “MobileMe account” and “Mac.com” account will no longer be viable options, but you’ll still be able to use regular AIM accounts, Jabber accounts and Google Talk accounts. I suppose that ‘security’ keeps being just fine with these accounts…

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