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This is big: OS X Lion Update is App Store only

Phil Schiller - WWDC 2011 OS X LionAs foreshadowed by Apple making many of its leading iWork and iLife products available in the Mac App Store, the next version of OS X will also be sold only through the Mac App Store. This is yet another step away from traditional media distribution as Apple (s aapl) will effectively be cutting out other means of software distribution like Amazon (s amzn).  The update will be available for download in July for just $29.

Weighing in at just over 4 GB each download, this update will likely be a major contender with Netflix (S NFLX) for internet bandwidth.  Especially as Apple’s 54 million Mac users begin to upgrade.  While priced the same as OS X Snow Leopard, this cat is no slouch.  With over 250 new features, Mac users will be more likely to want to update sooner rather than later.

What will be interesting this time around is how one performs this download-based upgrade. While users have gotten familiar with the upgrade process of the disk-based distribution, the Mac OS X upgrade path will likely be a little different; requiring enough free hard drive space for the download, the upgrade process, and the larger OS foot print that will likely result.  At a time when Mac users are opting for the faster yet smaller SSDs, extra hard drive space, like network bandwidth will be at a premium.

8 Responses to “This is big: OS X Lion Update is App Store only”

  1. For home users, once you download and install Lion, it creates a recovery partition. When you need to recover/reinstall, you use the recovery partition. If the drive fails, take it to an Apple Store and they will install Lion for you since most Mac’s don’t have user-supported hard drive installs. For the ones that do, or for those who want to repair/replace the hard drive themselves, buy a FW external drive and load Lion onto it with the .dmg file to install onto your Mac again.

    For companies/schools: I’m sure you will only have to download a single copy and you will be able to deploy it across multiple machines. Of course, you will have to buy multiple licenses.

    Since Lion is new, there isn’t much information about this. What I mentioned above is just some possibilities of what may work.

  2. Perhaps they will offer a service at the Apple store – buy 10.7 and have it installed – more convenient for notebooks of course.

    Or an opportunity for other folks who support Apple products – or even make house calls. Or perhaps they will authorize someone else to distribute via DVD for them (or someone will do it unauthorized – not talking about selling illegal copies here – pay a third party to buy the copy for you and to burn it to a DVD or copy it to a Flash drive for you).

  3. I would like to know how Apple intend to sell this to people with poor internet (e.g. less than 1mps!). I would love to have all of the new 250+ feature of Lion, but when I got my iPad 2 it took me around 7 hours to download the update. And when ever I’m updating my Macs (e.g. From 10.6.6 to 10.6.7 it takes at least 2 hours depending on the download). I have updated all of my Macs to the most recent OS since I started using Mac, back in the old Tiger days, but I’m thinking the only viable way for me to update is to buy new Macs! I hate the fact that Appe has removed our choice, I mean I would not mind paying an extra £10 (~$15) if it means I could have some physical media (be it a USB flash or DVD).
    The other problem is that how do you get to boot into recovery or clean install? I know there is this spare boot partition, but let’s say your HDD fails does that mean I have to put my new HDD in, install Snow Leopard clean and then update till 10.6.8 which will take a good 6 hours and then update to Lion via the App Store (which by my estimate will take around a whole 24 hours to complete). So from a Clean HDD I am looking around 30 hours non-stop till I can get back on my Mac, not including the time taken to install the HDD and clean install Snow Leopard!
    And I know this will not only be a problem for me, but for people all around the world, I think Apple should at least give the option to buy physical media (be it at a higher cost or not).
    Last problem I can think of; schools and colleges etc., how does Apple intend a college running lets say 500 Macs to update all of them? Will Apple provide media in this case, or still expect the Network Admins to download a 4Gb file 500 times? Or will they have some form of cache in place?

    • Fantastic post, all the same questions I have. I am an IT manager at a major university. This distribution model is down right STUPID!

      • I would only use air drop and auto backup. the rest to me is eye candy. I would have to be really in love with candy to spend hours downloading 4GBs for 3 Macs.
        If it weren’t for the fanboys, who will buy anything, this would be past stupid approaching suicidal for Apple.