Imagine if you picked out a new printer, checked the system requirements on the box to be sure it would work with your computer system, took it home, set it up, were happily using it until one day when, without warning, your new printer was disabled by a non-optional, irreversible driver update. Your call to support yields one simple solution … purchase a new computer to support the new requirements of your printer. Say what? You’d be outraged, and rightfully so … yet that is exactly what has happened today to Cricut Explore owners with MacOS 10.6 under Cricut’s policy of changing system requirements retroactively.
On the left are the system requirements that appear on retail boxes for the Cricut Explore and Explore Air. On the right are the new system requirements that quietly appeared in the FAQ’s at Cricut.com after a February update to Cricut Design Space, which is required to run the Explore. As you can see, RAM requirements quadrupled and 4 operating systems were dropped.
System Requirements for Cricut Explore Air per HSN.com screen captured 7/15/15
As of this writing, Mac OS 10.6 users are unable to use their Explores, even though their computers met the system requirements at the time of purchase. Others who do not meet the new system requirements are sometimes encouraged by Cricut’s Customer Care to purchase a new computer when they call about a problem. While it is sometimes possible to update an older computer to a newer operating system, this can be costly, result in performance loss or perhaps resulting in the loss of other legacy hardware or software that may not be replaceable at all (Mac OS 10.6 users should be especially cautious about the 4 OS jump Cricut is recommending to you). I remain a Mac OS 10.7 user by choice for this very reason, yet wonder how much longer my Explore will operate.
I was still holding out hope that this was an oversight until Cricut’s policy on this was added to the FAQs this spring, and until today’s instructions to Mac OSx 10.6 users.
I know of no other hardware that comes with this kind of caveat. Up to this point, the system requirements on the box have always been assumed to be current and valid for the life of the product. Yes, time marches on and technology improves, but you always have the option to refuse updates to be able to keep your hardware running if that is your need or choice. Cricut is changing the game here in a way that is not consumer-friendly and it’s important that anyone considering an Explore understand that. If you have already purchased an Explore, and especially if you have already been impacted by this policy, please do not quietly buy a new computer thinking this is the norm. It is not the norm, it is unprecedented (and I’m not even sure how it is legal.) Let Cricut management hear from you that this policy is unfair and unacceptable and that there needs to be a way for those that are happy with their current computer to refuse Design Space updates that would render their Explore inoperable.
Update: Let me try one more approach to make this clear. With any other diecutting machine (or phone, printer, etc) you can buy it, set it up and continue to operate with your existing operating system, RAM, internet speed etc for as long as you wish or until the device or computer fails. Periodically, you would have the option to update drivers, etc. at your convenience. Until you do, the machine keeps working. WIth the Cricut Explore, this is not the case. When Design Space stops supporting your operating system you must update it or buy a new computer to continue using the Explore. Periodic plug-in updates are not optional, and not at the user’s convenience. Until you complete a Design Space update, your Explore will not operate at all. These are, of course, consequences of the cloud-only system that Cricut has chosen, but it is important to understand what the practical difference will be to the users in terms of life cycle cost.
My intent is to serve the diecutting community of which I am a member both as a long time Cricut and Silhouette owner. If you follow this blog you know that I call out any company or product that I believe is not treating its customers respectfully or performing as advertised. I am going to delete any comments from Silhouette users who wish to bash Cricut because that’s not what this is about. Thank you for understanding.