Apple has abandoned plans to charge Aperture users a fee to upgrade to the Universal Binary version of the application.

The company had planned to charge users $49 for the upgrade, but these plans appear to have been quietly shelved.

"A Universal version of Aperture, which will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Mac computers, will be available before the end of March 2006. New and existing owners of Aperture will be able to crossgrade to the Universal version at no additional charge via Software Update," a note on Apple's website now reveals.

However, Apple's largesse doesn't extend to Final Cut Pro users, who must pay £35 to upgrade their Final Cut Studio applications.

Some users only have individual applications taken from among those within Final Cut Pro Studio, or older versions of these applications: Final Cut Pro 5, DVD Studio Pro 4, Motion 2 or Soundtrack Pro, Final Cut Pro 4.x/HD or Production Suite.

Apple no longer sells these applications on their own, forcing users to buy Final Cut Studio (£899). There is a low-cost upgrade path.

"To make it easy to move to Final Cut Studio, Apple is offering low-cost upgrades from retail versions of Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro 4, Motion 2, Soundtrack Pro and Production Suite. When you take advantage of this offer, you''ll also get the Universal version of Final Cut Studio when it becomes available."

Upgrade prices: Final Cut Pro 5, £69; DVD Studio Pro 4, Motion 2 or Soundtrack Pro £139; Final Cut Pro 4.x/HD or Production Suite, £139.