Apple ends physical media OS distribution with Mountain Lion

Posted:
in Mac OS X edited January 2014


After testing the waters by distributing Mac OS X Lion via the Mac App Store or an OS-toting USB drive, it seems Apple is ready to ditch physical media altogether and will only be offering digital downloads of OS X Mountain Lion.



Apple on Friday confirmed that the upcoming OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will be exclusive to the Mac App Store when it hits the virtual shelves sometime this summer, according to Pocket-lint.



When Mac OS X 10.7 Lion was released in 2011, the company was concerned that customers would be wary of installing a new OS from a digital download. In response, Apple offered upgraders the options of going down to a brick-and-mortar Apple Store to have a representative install Lion, or purchase a thumb drive of the OS at a largely inflated price.



The worries were unfounded, and the USB drive was a poor seller.



"It was an interesting test, but it turns out the App Store was just fine for getting the new OS," an unnamed Apple source told Pocket-lint.











The Cupertino, Calif., company has been pushing to make digital downloads de rigueur since the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in 2009 and subsequently the Mac App Store in 2010, which has tallied over 100 million downloads as of December 2011.



Apple's next-generation OS X Mountain Lion was released as a developer preview on Thursday and looks to bring a number of iOS features to the desktop environment.



No specific launch date has been announced for the new operating system, though Apple estimates the software will be unveiled to the public sometime this summer.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I think this correct in that the USB drive was a poor seller and that Apple will likely not push it with ML, but I seem to recall Apple saying that Lion would be exclusive to the Mac App Store, too, before later having a USB thumb drive version available for sale.
  • daving313daving313 Posts: 97member
    I would imagine Apple Stores will have physical copies on hand for the Genius Bar. Not necessarily for retail distribution.
  • slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,521member
    Good. Nice to see Apple is the only one that has the balls to push forward against physical media. Everyone else will follow-suit eventually, but they'll straddle the line and be risk-averse until Apple has made it mainstream, like pretty much every single innovation.



    If anyone needs to save ML on physical media after download, I'm sure it will be just as easy as doing so with Lion. Non-issue.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daving313 View Post


    I would imagine Apple Stores will have physical copies on hand for the Genius Bar. Not necessarily for retail distribution.



    They have USB, FW, and Ethernet connected physical drives with many partitions with many different OS builds and diagnostic systems on the ready so there would be no need for these USB thumb drives.
  • jdlinkjdlink Posts: 50member
    So how do I update the 10 users in my office? Download it 10 times? (We're still on Snow Leopard.)
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jdlink View Post


    So how do I update the 10 users in my office? Download it 10 times? (We're still on Snow Leopard.)



    The person in charge of IT should know how this works or you need to get a new person to run the IT. You DL it once and you can even burn the installer to a SL-DVD (at least with Lion you can), a USB flash drive, a HDD, or just keep on a network share, all using just Disk Utility. You can even have one Mac run OS X Server and all the app and OS updates can come from it. It's a cake walk for IT.
  • igorleandroigorleandro Posts: 36member
    As long as they still provide a .dmg that we can restore to another partition / external drive / pen drive / you name it, I'm totally fine with that.



    Quite frankly, media is a mess. Installing Lion from a backup DVD proved useless last time I tried, simply because the drive kept seeking... took HOURS to do it. Then I lost my patience, restored the .dmg to an USB drive I have and there we go, smooth restore. Yeah, loosing a HD is not fun.



    BUT, if they only offer it through "Network Install" then that is bad. REALLY bad... I hope they won't be that stupid.
  • shidellshidell Posts: 187member
    I support this move on Apple's part, but only if they do two additional things:
    1. Provide an easy way to download ML and burn to optical media / convert to USB installation

    2. Provide firmware updates for their hardware running Windows as well

    As "future-thinking" as this is, it makes computer OS reinstallation and triage a pain in the ass--and the fact that you need OS X to get OS X is a massive oversight.



    What if I don't have OS X? What if my version of OS X is completely damaged and I can't use it?



    Virus, user negligence and hard disk failure are all real-world scenarios.
  • sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 334member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jdlink View Post


    So how do I update the 10 users in my office? Download it 10 times? (We're still on Snow Leopard.)



    It is possible to make your own thumb drive from the downloaded file (there's a .dmg install file in the package download). There's plenty of sites on the Internet that explain the process. Just make sure you copy the downloaded file to a safe place (anyplace else) because it will be deleted upon install.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I think it was the last event Jobs spoke that he said the Mac was "just another device." I could see Apple changing the accounting for Macs that would make yearly updates free of charge. This could end up being more profitable for Apple as it could...
    1. Increase Mac ownership since free yearly OS updates would be considered value added.



    2. Lower the cost of the support since more users would be getting the latest OS updates since no cost is being applied.



    3. Eventually shorten the timeframe in which older Macs are supported to something more akin to the 3 years for iOS-based devices instead of going back 5 to 6 years for most machines.

  • idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Pity the people still on dial-up.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,079member
    Very progressive. Lead the way, Apple. Just make sure Apple users can still bring their Macs to an Apple Store to download the OS if they don't have fast broadband. Though Mac Pros might be harder to lug around
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shidell View Post


    As "future-thinking" as this is, it makes computer OS reinstallation and triage a pain in the ass--and the fact that you need OS X to get OS X is a massive oversight.



    Even if you don't do your due diligence as a "techs" to create a bootable installer as a backup they have 1) their Recovery HD which will repair and reinstall the OS, or if you've installed a new drive they have 2) the network bootable firmware that will install the OS from Apple's servers.
  • sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,455member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jdlink View Post


    So how do I update the 10 users in my office? Download it 10 times? (We're still on Snow Leopard.)



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    The person in charge of IT should know how this works or you need to get a new person to run the IT. You DL it once and you can even burn the installer to a SL-DVD (at least with Lion you can), a USB flash drive, a HDD, or just keep on a network share, all using just Disk Utility. You can even have one Mac run OS X Server and all the app and OS updates can come from it. It's a cake walk for IT.



    I'm presuming jdlink does not have a real "IT" guy in the small office. Even still, there are tons and tons of material out there on downloading, burning, copy to USB, etc.. that I'm surprised people don't even take the few moments to google it and research it.
  • aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,522member
    For my own reasons, I wanted a Lion thumb drive. It wasn't available in the retail stores.... so I didn't buy. You don't always have internet access, and I think it is asenine to prevent people from purchasing physical copies.



    It can work, but it really makes things unnecisarily difficult.
  • aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    ... Just make sure Apple users can still bring their Macs to an Apple Store to download the OS if they don't have fast broadband. Though Mac Pros might be harder to lug around



    In what insane world do you live where this is a reasonable compromise? There is an Apple store midway between my home and office (less than two miles from either), but bringing my iMac in because of a virus or corruption is absurd!!
  • shidellshidell Posts: 187member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Even if you don't do your due diligence as a "techs" to create a bootable installer as a backup they have 1) their Recovery HD which will repair and reinstall the OS, or if you've installed a new drive they have 2) the network bootable firmware that will install the OS from Apple's servers.



    Did you read my post, or just the first sentence? Apple should have a supported, standard way of burning ML to media or converting it to a USB installer.



    Additionally, not every "tech" has an repair HDD. I am the only Apple user in my office, and I have Windows installed. If my HDD dies, I cannot network boot (as network booting actually requires a valid, working OS X partition). Installing Snow Leopard to upgrade to Lion to then upgrade to Mountain Lion is the pain I'm talking about.



    Let's at least hope you can migrate directly to ML from Snow Leopard, but Apple still needs to provide supported ways of making optical and USB media for installation from scratch.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    I'm presuming jdlink does not have a real "IT" guy in the small office. Even still, there are tons and tons of material out there on downloading, burning, copy to USB, etc.. that I'm surprised people don't even take the few moments to google it and research it.



    Why should we have to Google it? Why won't Apple simply support it? Clearly there's a need for it.
  • madhatter61madhatter61 Posts: 116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daving313 View Post


    I would imagine Apple Stores will have physical copies on hand for the Genius Bar. Not necessarily for retail distribution.



    One issue (we need to remember) Apple is moving in a direction to eliminate optical drives. (sure you can always buy an external one for this one time use ... or maybe a DVD to watch a movie to old way (not streamed). The world is going wireless and mobile. Though, the Mac will remain on the desktop, and of course sync with iCloud with all its goodies.



    Note, Core2 duo, integrated graphic of 950 and 3100 are considered obsolete and ML won't talk to them. Too slow and graphics are poor.
  • kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    It is not surprising the USB drive was a slow seller. It was overpriced, not available at launch and basically hidden from potential buyers. There was very little done to let people know it even existed.



    Basically, Apple set it up to fail so they could point at it later and say, "see it was a slow seller".



    That being said, it is not a huge loss especially since Apple released the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant.. If Apple offers the same thing for Mountain Lion, it will be easy to make your own backup thumbdrive.



    -kpluck
  • slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,521member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jdlink View Post


    So how do I update the 10 users in my office? Download it 10 times? (We're still on Snow Leopard.)



    Spend 5 seconds Googling how to get Lion on physical media. Should be the same process. I mean, I can't believe you honestly assume the only way to do that would be to re-download it 10 times. Have some common sense.
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