By Sarah Petit:
Apple this Summer is expected to release Mac OS X Lion. As opposed to other OS X releases, however, Lion will also be available for purchase via the Mac App Store.
The Mac App Store, available to all users running the most recent version of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, will become the defacto method for obtaining the Lion upgrade, people familiar with the matter have revealed. Users will be able to upgrade instantly without the need for physical media by purchasing Lion through the Mac App Store.
Since debuting this past January, the Mac App Store has been a mild success for Apple, though it hasn’t come close to replicating the booming success of the iTunes App Store. This, of course, isn’t all that surprising given the much larger user base of iOS devices and the simple fact that the iTunesApp Store offers a wide variety of cheap and free apps while apps on the Mac App Store are naturally more expensive.
Nevertheless, Apple has taken steps to direct more users to the Mac App Store, including offering apps from its iLife suit of software as individual downloads and generally offering apps at cheaper pricepoints than their boxed brethren.
So while we expect to see a boxed version of OS X Lion this Summer since not everyone has ultrafast broadband connections, it will be interesting to see if the downloadable version will be cheaper. Again, this serves the purpose of getting users accustomed to the Mac App Store experience. Further, Apple can afford to offer the OS update for a lower price due to the money saved on packaging, shipping, and a host of other retail costs.
While developers have been playing with OS X Lion for some time, Apple will officially take the wraps off its next-gen OS at this year’s WWDC event, scheduled to kick off on June 6. Apple will also use the event to showcase what is expected to be a major upgrade to iOS.
Citing further evidence that Lion will be distributed via the Mac App Store, AI notes that beta builds of OS X 10.7 are already available on the Mac App Store via redemption codes issued to developers.
While we might be a ways off from a time when Apple’s hardware comes equipped without optical disc drives, it’s clear that that’s where Apple is headed. First was the disc-less MacBook Air, and with the Mac App Store now becoming a more prominent piece of the Mac user experience, the days of physical media may be waning.