Based on an analysis of data and information, we believe Apple in the US has shipped upwards of a quarter million retail copies of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" to its retail stores and Apple authorized resellers in preparation for tonight's Tiger launch event.
Sources close to the company said the average Apple retail store is expecting to have 1000 copies of Tiger on hand, while flagship locations, such as the company's SoHo store in Manhattan, have reportedly been stocked with 5000 copies. Additionally, stores are receiving a hundred or so Tiger drop-in kits for preexisting Apple desktop computers in inventory and a few dozen mini drop-in kits for existing Mac minis.
Anaheim, Calif-based Crest National appear to be the ones handling the duplication of Tiger onto optical media. Each retail case consists of 10 retail-boxed copies.
Apple retail stores are also expected to hand out scratch-off lottery tickets where customers can instantly win not only PowerBooks and 30GB iPod photos, but also JBL Creature Speakers, iPod minis, iSights, iPod shuffles, and copies of iWork. "The chances of walking away with free hardware on Friday will be high," one source said.
Additionally, Apple has shipped to its stores thousands of black "Tiger" tee-shirts, which will come in several different designs, each featuring a major feature of Tiger (like Spotlight and Dashboard).
Speaking of iWork
Dare we say it, but Microsoft will love it -- iWork sales have become so sluggish that Apple is literally inventing ways to pull sales of the product out of the doldrums.
After an initial modest response, sales of the software have been described as nothing short of "horrible." Most retail stores AppleInsider spoke to conceded to only moving a handful of copies each week, if that.
In addition to authorizing catalog resellers and some of its stores to offer free copies of iWork to customers who are disgruntled over other issues, the company will be including a free 30-day trial of the productivity suite with each retail copy of Tiger in hopes that it may rejuvenate interest.
Furthermore, Apple has quietly launched a discounted iWork family pack for $99. Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon.com has taken its own initiative, offering an additional $10 rebate when iWork is purchased alongside Tiger.
Grab Your EncycliPodia
Apple on Friday will also begin distributing a brand-new collateral piece that educates customers on its current iPod assortment, dubbed the "EncycliPodia." The full color brochure will include a detailed overview of the full line of Apple iPods, a section dedicated to the integration between iPod and iTunes, and accessory suggestions broken up into sections such as "In the Car," "At Home," and "On the Go."
It's believed that the brochure will prominently feature those accessory makers currently surrendering 10% royalties to Apple from their "Made for iPod" devices.