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Apple ends physical media OS distribution with Mountain Lion

post #1 of 110
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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 ]
post #2 of 110
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.

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post #3 of 110
I would imagine Apple Stores will have physical copies on hand for the Genius Bar. Not necessarily for retail distribution.
post #4 of 110
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.
post #5 of 110
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.

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post #6 of 110
So how do I update the 10 users in my office? Download it 10 times? (We're still on Snow Leopard.)
post #7 of 110
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.

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post #8 of 110
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.
post #9 of 110
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.
post #10 of 110
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.
post #11 of 110
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.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 110
Pity the people still on dial-up.
post #13 of 110
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

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post #14 of 110
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.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #15 of 110
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.
post #16 of 110
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.
post #17 of 110
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!!
post #18 of 110
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.
post #19 of 110
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.
post #20 of 110
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.

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post #21 of 110
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.
post #22 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

Pity the people still on dial-up.

If they are still on dial-up perhaps they are still using old Mac that won't even run ML
post #23 of 110
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.)

On Macworld.com there was a step by step instruction on how to create a bootable install disc with Lion, on a 16 or 8 gb ( can't remember) USB drive. I have used mine several times to install Lion and to run disk utility.

Here are links:
http://www.google.com/search?q=how%2...%20disc%20lion
post #24 of 110
I like having the System Install on physical media, simply as a back-up copy or a last-case scenario in case my entire system crashes, etc, I lose a hard drive, and have to re-install, etc.

IN the case the at all else fails and I do not have an internet connection, I want some sort of backup on hand. That's why I always thought it was important to have the System Discs for any Mac I bought, new or used...very important.
post #25 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

Pity the people still on dial-up.

They can simply take the bus to the nearest Apple Store and use WiFi. Problem solved.

They can make a party out of it and go with all of their friends.
post #26 of 110
Guys come on. Multiple computer installs is a legit question.

I'd like to see the opportunity to scan the network and install to networked clients over the LAN. Or give me the ability to cache the updates on a ML Server and deploy that way.
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post #27 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

Pity the people still on dial-up.

Yeah, because the kinds of people content with dial-up need to be running the last bleeding edge OS. The main improvement to ML are related to syncing, etc, which I would presume would be absolute torture on dial-up, if they even work in the first place (iCloud states it requires a broadband connection). Potential customers for ML who are on dial-up would be an EXTREMELY small minority, not enough for Apple to care about- nor should they. If I was stuck on dial-up, the least of my concerns would be running ML. I would sooner run a 10 year old OS on a broadband connection.

Maybe Apple should start re-adding modems to all their computers and devices, so they can access the internet through a dial-up connection. Which begs the question, how the hell are people using macs made in the last 10 years using dial-up anyway? I've never seen a wifi router with modem inputs, nor do modem inputs exist on Apple hardware.
post #28 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhatter61 View Post

If they are still on dial-up perhaps they are still using old Mac that won't even run ML

Not necessarily true. There are areas just a few miles from me where people have no option for high-speed internet. It's not a matter of choosing to be behind the times, considering the cable company won't go out there and they're too far away to get DSL, but a matter of location. I won't even start discussing the limitations that satellite internet providers set...
post #29 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

They can simply take the bus to the nearest Apple Store and use WiFi. Problem solved.

They can make a party out of it and go with all of their friends.

I suspect you're being sarcastic but there are still some people with no access to broadband who are also quite some distance from any Apple store. I guess since it's such a small percentage, Apple doesn't care. It's too much trouble to make a few DVDs or USB drives.
post #30 of 110
use this: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1433 to create your own USB drive version - at least with Lion - I would suspect it will also be available for ML.

there are other ways to make the recovery partition visible - but that utility would seem to be the easiest way to go.
post #31 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

I suspect you're being sarcastic but there are still some people with no access to broadband who are also quite some distance from any Apple store. I guess since it's such a small percentage, Apple doesn't care. It's too much trouble to make a few DVDs or USB drives.


People who live that far off the grid shouldn't worry about things like that. Even the security patches are hundreds of megs. You need to have your relatives in the big city help you out by sending you discs in the mail.

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post #32 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell View Post

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.

"Lion Internet Recovery

If you happen to encounter a situation in which you cannot start from the Recovery HD, such as your hard drive stopped responding or you installed a new hard drive without Mac OS X installed, new Mac models introduced after public availability of OS X Lion automatically use the Lion Internet Recovery feature if the Recovery HD (Command-R method above) doesn't work. Lion Internet Recovery lets you start your Mac directly from Apple's Servers. The system runs a quick test of your memory and hard drive to ensure there are no hardware issues."
post #33 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

They can simply take the bus to the nearest Apple Store and use WiFi. Problem solved.

The busses don't run to two and a half hours away from here and back.

I'm not on dial-up, but the point stands.

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post #34 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Yeah, because the kinds of people content with dial-up need to be running the last bleeding edge OS. The main improvement to ML are related to syncing, etc, which I would presume would be absolute torture on dial-up, if they even work in the first place (iCloud states it requires a broadband connection). Potential customers for ML who are on dial-up would be an EXTREMELY small minority, not enough for Apple to care about- nor should they. If I was stuck on dial-up, the least of my concerns would be running ML. I would sooner run a 10 year old OS on a broadband connection.

Maybe Apple should start re-adding modems to all their computers and devices, so they can access the internet through a dial-up connection. Which begs the question, how the hell are people using macs made in the last 10 years using dial-up anyway? I've never seen a wifi router with modem inputs, nor do modem inputs exist on Apple hardware.

All good points. And I suppose since I don't like, need, trust or want iCloud, I should never update my operating system. Good thing, because I don't particularly care for iOS anyway and it looks like Mac OS X will soon BE iOS. Put me in the EXTREMELY small minority, even though I do have broadband.
post #35 of 110
Has anyone taken apart the Mountain Lion installer yet? Is there still an ESDInstall DMG you can boot from?
post #36 of 110
This will be the second OS I won't buy.

I need the DVD.
post #37 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

This will be the second OS I won't buy.

I need the DVD.

For what reason? Download it and make dozens of your own.

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post #38 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by xamian View Post

There are areas just a few miles from me where people have no option for high-speed internet. It's not a matter of choosing to be behind the times...

Yes, yes it is. These days, choosing to live in a god-forsaken rural hellhole with no access to the 21st century is absolutely a choice.
post #39 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell View Post

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.

It's not a feature of the installer but it is supported with Disk Utility. I don't see this as a problem because it's not how Apple wants people to use their OS. Since it requires no authentication to install I think we can without Apple writing new code that even 1% of the readers of tech sites won't do.

Quote:
Additionally, not every "tech" has an repair HDD.

Every Mac that Lion installs will create the Recovery HD and most that will be eligible for ML will have the Internet Recovery option, too.

Quote:
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.

I have no idea what you're getting on about. Why install SL instead of just installing Lion first? It sounds like you have ignored or don't understand how easy it is to create a bootable image of Lion. And if you're that afraid to make a bootable copy then buy fucking Lion installer. It's priced well under what the DVD of Mac OS X used to cost.

And what Mac do you have that doesn't have the EFI firmware update that allows for the Internet Recovery option? Note just how many units of all Macs will be eligible for ML but don't have the EFI firmware updated for Internet Recovery? You really fall into a small category of users.

Quote:
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.

I thought you had serious concerns. Now I see you're purposely being ridiculous.

Quote:
Why should we have to Google it? Why won't Apple simply support it? Clearly there's a need for it.

You're asking why you, a human being of finite knowledge, would have to ever do a modicum of research to get a rudimentary understanding of something? Seriously?! Irony is if you'd taken 30 seconds to do a simple search you would already know everything I've stated in this thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Has anyone taken apart the Mountain Lion installer yet? Is there still an ESDInstall DMG you can boot from?

Good question! I assume it's the same but I'll re-download the file and check. I'll also check for the size to let you know if it will still fit on a SL-DVD.

edit: It's still there, it's in the same place, and it's 3.7GB which might be smaller than for Lion.

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post #40 of 110
You can't expect to run today's OS on yesterday's hardware OR yesterday's network connection. It's all one big integrated system now.
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