Thanks for the question. It sounds like some of your applications require an upgrade of your computers operating system. Currently, it sounds like you are running Mac OS X 10.6.7 (referred to as Snow Leopard). If your computer is compatible, you'll want to update to OS X 10.8 (referred to as Mountain Lion).
An Apple "software upgrade" means a major, standalone version of a software product. Such products are usually something you purchase. OS X upgrades are sometimes also called "reference releases."
For example, OS X Mountain Lion is an upgrade that is available from the Mac App Store.