Apple Stores to phase out physical software media

Digital distribution methods of software are slowly but surely becoming the future in how programs will be purchased. Many people probably can't even remember the last time they used a CD or DVD when it wasn't for a driver or operating system. Steam revolutionized this digital method with games, allowing users to simply click to buy and download games without the need of any physical media. Apple recently introduced the Mac App Store in hope of bringing the idea of the mobile App Store to computers, and has seen promising results.

With the success of digital distribution methods and from sources, MacRumors reports that Apple is currently working on eliminating boxed software from their stores and focusing application purchases through the Mac App Store. This is a move that makes sense, as physical copies take up a bit of space in the store, which if done digitally would allow for more floor space.

Apple displayed plans for offering a "Personal Setup for Mac" which specifically mention having an associate walk the customer through the Mac App Store in addition to configuring other parts of the system. Making a move to digital means of commerce might have come sooner than expected, but Apple feels this is the future and also likes the fact that they can now display more hardware or higher-selling items in the previously occupied space.

This does however seem to be a strictly consumer experience as Microsoft Office, Adobe's Creative Suite, and Apple's own Final Cut Studio and Xsan are not available as of now in the Mac App Store. Perhaps later on we will see these professional titles making an appearance, but as of now there are no plans to include such applications.

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The problem with this article is that it follows the following line of logic
[list]
[*] Apple does X
[*] Apple does Y
[*] Apple will teach new users about Y
[*] Y is "the opposite" of X
[*] Conclusion: Y is going to replace X
[/list]
The conclusion doesn't follow from the premises, the argument isn't valid.

It's as likely (in terms of the ways you can make the last statement) that Y will compliment X. An alternate conclusion is "Y and X are going to compliment one another".

Apple doesn't sell a boxed copy of Transmit in their retail store but now they'll they'll be able to show new-to-mac users about it. Maybe this move isn't about reducing software sales at all, it could be about increasing it. Young people without credit cards could be able to use cash or debit to pay for software at the Apple store and download it to their computers at home (for example).

It's one thing to regurgitate 'news', but you'll find higher quality speculation at a 7th-year school lunch table on the topic of "did Jenny really kiss Mark?". I suppose this is what we get when pay-for-page views here gets compounded with pay-for-page views on another site. Readers reap what they sow.

You should be able to walk into a Apple store with your USB drive and get a digital copy, if you choose but I see Apple trying to sell most software through the MAC App store.

I think this is a bad idea, living out in the country we don't get high speed internet everywhere even if you can afford a mac dosen't mean you are going to get internet.....BAD MOVE!

Lilrich said,
I think this is a bad idea, living out in the country we don't get high speed internet everywhere even if you can afford a mac dosen't mean you are going to get internet.....BAD MOVE!

Unfortunately there would be enough people living in cities and towns with fast connections that Apple wouldn't need to worry about anyone else.

I think its a good move. I would love to see this in Windows. Just image all those possibilities. For example, you could have all your programs associated with your Live account and if you install Windows, it would automatically install all your apps.

Kinda think everyone should do away with CD/DVD drives anyway. Put software on USB drives or some other smaller media. Also, put the manual on the drive as well. Lots less packaging needed and more space in store for other things.

I think what's hindering USB devices is:
1) price!!
2) copy protection.

techbeck said,
Put software on USB drives or some other smaller media.

What other "smaller media" options are really viable?

Meh, doesn't bother me. I'm not a mac fan. Let them do whatever is best though. If online distribution is the easiest and most efficient way than go for it.

NeoDecay said,
If online distribution is the easiest and most efficient way than go for it.

You make it sound like Apple is the first to do this - it's not. This is how the trend is going.

This is good. Microsoft started something similar when they opened their first store. All you do is just browse a digital catalogue and the disc would be burned on-site. Of course physical media is still used in the process, but it was a step closer.

Download Final Cut Studio...
Seriously?
It would be best if it was issued on a USB Memory Stick.
It takes about 3 hours at best to install the full suite.
Its 7 DVD's!
Thats (Just going on single layer disks) 32.9GB!!

Wombatt said,
Download Final Cut Studio...
Seriously?
It would be best if it was issued on a USB Memory Stick.
It takes about 3 hours at best to install the full suite.
Its 7 DVD's!
Thats (Just going on single layer disks) 32.9GB!!

I hope they have automatic resume on the App store

to upgrade to iOS4 took all night as my IS connection kept cutting and had to keep starting from scratch
the agony of getting to 31gb and having to start all over again

evo_spook said,

I hope they have automatic resume on the App store

to upgrade to iOS4 took all night as my IS connection kept cutting and had to keep starting from scratch
the agony of getting to 31gb and having to start all over again

31GB would come in for some under 45 minutes.
Personally, I'd be looking at an overnight download - taking around 5 hours to complete. Not completely unreasonable. It'd take at least 2 hr to make it to a physical store and back - and cost me $20 in gas. Also digital is ALWAYS in stock.. unless the store crashes, or the internets out.

I'm still surprised that CD/DVD are still the same size we have had for 10-20 years, I would have thought they'd have shrunk to a couple of inches across. But instead of shrunking when they've improved the capacity they decided to fill it with junk no one will even watch.

can't even remember what's a CD... oh yeah.. the high capacity and LARGE floppy disc without the case and works with a laser. well it's obvious that CD/DVD/bluray are going to die out within the next decade. all of them are just too slow and robust for everyday use. i bet bluray will be the last format of it's kind.

Downloadable is the way to go, but I suspect they will keep retail software and phase out most. Leaving only Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Mac OS X and whatever else isn't available in Mac App Store (final cut?) I'd love to see them ditch optical discs completely and switch to USB stick installations for remaining physical software. Much like the did for the OSX install for MacBook Airs.

Xero said,
Downloadable is the way to go, but I suspect they will keep retail software and phase out most. Leaving only Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Mac OS X and whatever else isn't available in Mac App Store (final cut?) I'd love to see them ditch optical discs completely and switch to USB stick installations for remaining physical software. Much like the did for the OSX install for MacBook Airs.

You want to download the final cut suite? Rather you than me.

Xero said,
Downloadable is the way to go, but I suspect they will keep retail software and phase out most. Leaving only Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Mac OS X and whatever else isn't available in Mac App Store (final cut?) I'd love to see them ditch optical discs completely and switch to USB stick installations for remaining physical software. Much like the did for the OSX install for MacBook Airs.

It shouldn't take that long if you have a good 100Mbps. It is slowly becoming the norm for those in the know. Most cable providers give away 15mb connections for almost nothing.

Benjy91 said,

You want to download the final cut suite? Rather you than me.

That isn't what he said at all. He said that most things should be downloadable. Some things that are too large should come on a USB stick instead of discs.

azure.sapphire said,
It shouldn't take that long if you have a good 100Mbps. It is slowly becoming the norm for those in the know. Most cable providers give away 15mb connections for almost nothing.

Lol. Yeah, maybe where YOU live... that's not the case for many.

azure.sapphire said,

It shouldn't take that long if you have a good 100Mbps. It is slowly becoming the norm for those in the know. Most cable providers give away 15mb connections for almost nothing.


i can get 100Mbps, even 1Gbps... but the 100Mbps is already 150E a month where i live...
altho im on 20Mbps atm, and getting a free upgrade to VDSL 40/4mbps \o/ (gotta love working at own provider, pilots ftw)
but thats just my little town of ~50.000 people that have no access to anything faster then 20Mbps in an affordable contract.

I doubt people have much to worry about as far as DLC goes. MP3 downloads have been around for ages and the stores still have CDs for sale.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
Yeah, and declining. I've seen some CD stores close shop already.

here in holland except a few major stores, which also sell all sorts of other (mostly digital) products sell actual CD's... the few small music stores in my area are all gone which is bad as they had good music unlike the popular crap in the general music stores nowadays

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
Yeah, and declining. I've seen some CD stores close shop already.

Well I meant stores like Target & Best Buy..

Apple doesn't care about room space, they care about the 30% margin in the Mac App Store...as well as their control over what gets approved and what doesn't, of course.

Aethec said,
Apple doesn't care about room space, they care about the 30% margin in the Mac App Store...as well as their control over what gets approved and what doesn't, of course.

That's a good point, except they would get a margin for selling the software in their retail stores too, and of course they control what appears in their stores and what doesn't.

Javawag (Joe Flood) said,

That's a good point, except they would get a margin for selling the software in their retail stores too, and of course they control what appears in their stores and what doesn't.

Same business model, different platform.

Aethec said,
Apple doesn't care about room space [...]

Well, maybe they should start caring about room space, because we're stepping on each other here in our Apple Store in Montreal... just sayin'.
In other words, I don't particularly agree with your comment.

PyX said,

Well, maybe they should start caring about room space, because we're stepping on each other here in our Apple Store in Montreal... just sayin'.
In other words, I don't particularly agree with your comment.

Apple doesn't particularly care about what their customers think, as long as their brand image is intact - just look at the iPhone 4 problems, the "no smoking" MacBook policy etc.

Aethec said,

Apple doesn't particularly care about what their customers think, as long as their brand image is intact - just look at the iPhone 4 problems, the "no smoking" MacBook policy etc.

What is 'brand image' if it is not what their customers think?

"afford" decent high speed internet.... What if it is not offered? I have a good Satellite ISP at home but others in my community have super bad internet service and downloading anything over 200mb is not in the question.

BOOYAH said,
"afford" decent high speed internet.... What if it is not offered? I have a good Satellite ISP at home but others in my community have super bad internet service and downloading anything over 200mb is not in the question.

I know people here in the U.S. that only have dial-up. Not because it's what they want, but because that is all they have, and the local cable and tele providers have already stated that they won't be getting anything faster for years to come.

As for digital downloads, that is all well and good, 8intil you need to reinstall said software and the place you purchased it from says that they have no record you bought it before... so you need to pay again... been there done that. sigh.

WickedScribbler said,

I know people here in the U.S. that only have dial-up. Not because it's what they want, but because that is all they have, and the local cable and tele providers have already stated that they won't be getting anything faster for years to come.

As for digital downloads, that is all well and good, 8intil you need to reinstall said software and the place you purchased it from says that they have no record you bought it before... so you need to pay again... been there done that. sigh.

At least with the Apple App store, it does retain a list of what you've already purchased and applications can be easily re-installed.

WickedScribbler said,

I know people here in the U.S. that only have dial-up. Not because it's what they want, but because that is all they have, and the local cable and tele providers have already stated that they won't be getting anything faster for years to come.

As for digital downloads, that is all well and good, 8intil you need to reinstall said software and the place you purchased it from says that they have no record you bought it before... so you need to pay again... been there done that. sigh.

They will have to drive to an apple store, or affiliate with their mac, and download them there - similar to how PSP Go! works.

WickedScribbler said,

I know people here in the U.S. that only have dial-up. Not because it's what they want, but because that is all they have, and the local cable and tele providers have already stated that they won't be getting anything faster for years to come.

An internet connection is becoming about as important as an electricity connection. I personally would not choose to live somewhere that was 'too rural' to have electricity, plumbing and decent broadband.

While I'm thinking about this, I wonder if 'bring your own laptop' internet cafes could be set up in shopping centres for people who live out in the sticks to download their software.


As for digital downloads, that is all well and good, 8intil you need to reinstall said software and the place you purchased it from says that they have no record you bought it before... so you need to pay again... been there done that. sigh.

As with anything you need to purchase from reputable sources. I'd be interested to know who let you down. I've yet to have any issues with Steam, iTunes and Amazon, but I've not tried any others.

Laura said,

An internet connection is becoming about as important as an electricity connection. I personally would not choose to live somewhere that was 'too rural' to have electricity, plumbing and decent broadband.

While I'm thinking about this, I wonder if 'bring your own laptop' internet cafes could be set up in shopping centres for people who live out in the sticks to download their software.

Yeah, you can choose, but not everyone can. Your own standards do not fit all. In some countries, is not about speed, is about caps. Going software can kill entire countries' interest in Mac because things are done through online because of it. Phasing out is an inevitable but won't force ISP hands.