‘Mountain Lion' download only, as OS X shifts to yearly updates

For many, Apple’s announcement earlier today about its next major update for Mac OS X, known as ‘Mountain Lion’, was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t just that there had been effectively no hint that such an announcement would be made now; it also raised eyebrows because the current version of the OS X operating system – 10.7 ‘Lion’ – was released just eight months ago.

Apple had previously settled into a two-year update cycle for OS X, with 10.5 ‘Leopard’ arriving in October 2007, and 10.6 ‘Snow Leopard’ arriving in October 2009, so it’s certainly surprising to see the next major update arrive so soon. This seems to be the shape of things to come, however, as Apple confirmed to Pocket-lint that it has realigned its development schedule to now bring OS X updates every year. While the OS update is immediately available to download for Mac Developer Program subscribers, it’s expected to be publicly launched this summer, just over a year after Lion, and probably a few weeks after Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

There’s no word yet on what the update will cost (OS X Lion is currently sold for just $29.99 in the US and £20.99 in the UK), but we do know that it will be available exclusively from the Mac App Store.

When Lion was released in July last year, many consumers raised concerns about the practicality of downloading such a large amount of data (almost 3.5GB), given the speed and consumption limitations imposed upon some users’ web connections.

Apple acknowledged this issue by allowing users to download the update in its stores, while for those unable to make it to an Apple Store, the company made the update available on USB thumb drives, although the cost of purchasing these drives was punitive, to say the least – in some markets, the update on the physical drive cost up to two and a half times more than the App Store download.

This time around, there’ll be no USB key option – but speaking with Pocket-lint, Apple claimed that it’s because there was so little interest in that option anyway: “It was an interesting test, but it turns out that the App Store was just fine for getting the new OS.”

It was also confirmed today that Apple has dropped the 'Mac' part of the operating system's nomenclature; henceforth, it shall be known only as "OS X".

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Im still wondering how much longer Apple can milk OSX, they have to be reaching an end pretty soon right or at least ideating on OS 11.

wv@gt said,
Im still wondering how much longer Apple can milk OSX, they have to be reaching an end pretty soon right or at least ideating on OS 11.

Like Microsoft has been "milking" Windows NT for the last 15 or so years?

They better still offer $30 Mountain Lion on a $40 4gb flash drive with an Apple logo on it. I need to feel ripped off somehow.

$30 is actually a really good price... IIRC, 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5 updates sold for more like $129. (Or maybe $79 and $129 was the family pack?)

More than people may realize this is going to be one way for Apple to control downloading their applications and OS's illegally.

Pam14160 said,
More than people may realize this is going to be one way for Apple to control downloading their applications and OS's illegally.

I think that the move is primarily to move away from physical disc media because they have a whole line of laptops that doesn't have an optical drive. This day and age, it makes sense. They will likely have a USB stick version for people concerned about bandwidth.

They've said there won't be a USB stick version due to lack of interest. No surprise really considering how much they charged for it.

Pam14160 said,
More than people may realize this is going to be one way for Apple to control downloading their applications and OS's illegally.

Ya, not so much... There are always smart 'hackers' that will obtain and modify it.

Even the most advanced Adobe or Microsoft 'Software Protection' technology is always circumvented.

Which is why Microsoft has pulled back on the 'Genuine Windows' initiative, as it caused more harm than it ever accomplished in exposing production scale software pirate versions.


Side note on Microsoft's Genuine Program...

Illegal copies of Office and Windows being sold to OEMS and builders in the late 90s early 00s, were rampant. I can remember when several mainstream distributors were unknowingly selling counterfeit copies 20% of the time.

The 'Genuine' program was never geared to catch end users or harm them, but it did cause them problems. When a user would get a 'Genuine' warning and contact Microsoft, it was a way for Microsoft to track the source production, and they always gave the end-user a legal product key.

Which is something users should note today even, if you have a problem and get a 'not-genuine' warning for Windows, just call Microsoft and you should get a legal license key. Unless you torrented the copy of Windows, and sometimes even then, if ya don't tell them that part, they will help you out.

thenetavenger said,

every time I read one of your posts I begin to ask myself one question: "Do you work for Microsoft?"

MFH said,

every time I read one of your posts I begin to ask myself one question: "Do you work for Microsoft?"

No, he's a person who writes objective and unbiased posts (do you see any opinion in it?). Unfortunately for some people, it likely turns out to be pro-Microsoft.

thenetavenger said,

Ya, not so much... There are always smart 'hackers' that will obtain and modify it.

Even the most advanced Adobe or Microsoft 'Software Protection' technology is always circumvented.


get me a full working Exchange 2010 environment please without having to pay for licenses.

Cøi said,

No, he's a person who writes objective and unbiased posts (do you see any opinion in it?). Unfortunately for some people, it likely turns out to be pro-Microsoft.

That not what I meant at all! I just find it interesting how he always has these lengthy posts will all this "insider information"…

MFH said,

That not what I meant at all! I just find it interesting how he always has these lengthy posts will all this "insider information"…

Oh, I guess he's really learned and experienced at everything (/a lot) that happened in the tech industry..
He still could be one, but I rather think he's a developer and/or designer..

I'm just a little concerned at how buggy OS X will be if it's upgraded every year. The last few releases have taken between 6 and 8 months to get to the .3 update.

If they're planning to put out a new cat every year then they better start speeding up the update cycle.

protocol7 said,
I'm just a little concerned at how buggy OS X will be if it's upgraded every year. The last few releases have taken between 6 and 8 months to get to the .3 update.

If they're planning to put out a new cat every year then they better start speeding up the update cycle.

I have Lion on my MBP and I see it as a step back from Snow Leopard. Even being a .3 release.

Faster updates = fewer changes, which generally means less opportunity for bugs to appear. OSX absolutely should not be requiring a .3 update to be 'stable'.

Kirkburn said,
Faster updates = fewer changes, which generally means less opportunity for bugs to appear. OSX absolutely should not be requiring a .3 update to be 'stable'.

Interesting logic. With no new features, modifications or improvements the chance of new bugs is practically zero, let's just bump the version number to avoid the risk of bugs, shall we?

Breach said,

Interesting logic. With no new features, modifications or improvements the chance of new bugs is practically zero, let's just bump the version number to avoid the risk of bugs, shall we?


No new features? Where/when?

Do you see no new features in this release? I see wireless TV and free phone messaging from the desktop. I see a notification center and more. Despite being just a year after Lion.

Oh I see you're one of those guys who never "got" the new Firefox or Chrome releases for the same reaons. Still thinking it's a conspiracy to just bump numbers, right? I'm so sorry. Please keep using Internet Explorer with more rare releases so you feel more "at home" and comfortable.

Just to note, faster updates leading to fewer changes and fewer potential bugs implies almost zero about whether it is an 'appropriate' change for that product. There's *many* other important factors for that.

Cyborg_X said,
$30 a year for a service pack.

Service packs include HDMI-less TV connectivity support and free desktop messaging to phones?

OS X "service packs" are indicated by the "MajorArchitecture.OS.Service" versioning system, and has been so for ages. So 10.7.1 is a service pack for the initial release of 10.7.0. These indeed mostly just contain security fixes. They're released more frequently than on Windows though, so each release isn't quite as major. And they aren't called service packs.

So Microsoft released 1 stupid service pack 10 years ago that contained 1 new feature: a friggen firewall, and ever since then any update to OS X and you people foam at the mouth with this "$30 a year for a service pack".

It has new features! It's a new OS. You pay for new features when you buy new versions of Windows. Service Packs do not include new features. Get out of 2002 and step into 2012. New versions of Mac OS X are cheaper because Apple makes their money off of the hardware sales. Windows is more expensive than Mac OS X no matter how you try and spin it. Get Over It Already.

Shadrack said,
New versions of Mac OS X are cheaper because Apple makes their money off of the hardware sales. Windows is more expensive than Mac OS X no matter how you try and spin it. Get Over It Already.

New versions of Windows are more expensive because Microsoft makes their money from the software sales. PCs are cheaper than Macs no matter how you try and spin it. Get over it already.

Shadrack said,
So Microsoft released 1 stupid service pack 10 years ago that contained 1 new feature: a friggen firewall, and ever since then any update to OS X and you people foam at the mouth with this "$30 a year for a service pack".

It has new features! It's a new OS. You pay for new features when you buy new versions of Windows. Service Packs do not include new features. Get out of 2002 and step into 2012. New versions of Mac OS X are cheaper because Apple makes their money off of the hardware sales. Windows is more expensive than Mac OS X no matter how you try and spin it. Get Over It Already.

Microsoft creates or updates products all the time that are competitive to these new "OS" feautures, such as Messenger, and gives them away for free. And yet, you people foam at the mouth because, by doing so, it is destroying other businesses. So will it be OK when MS adds Skype, IM, and other features to the OS?

nohone said,
So will it be OK when MS adds Skype, IM, and other features to the OS?

Don't forget Xbox Live and Office 15!

nohone said,

Microsoft creates or updates products all the time that are competitive to these new "OS" feautures, such as Messenger, and gives them away for free. And yet, you people foam at the mouth because, by doing so, it is destroying other businesses. So will it be OK when MS adds Skype, IM, and other features to the OS?

I really don't care what Microsoft adds to Windows. And since the anti-trust bit expired last year, they should be free to start bundling things back into Windows.

Enron said,

New versions of Windows are more expensive because Microsoft makes their money from the software sales. PCs are cheaper than Macs no matter how you try and spin it. Get over it already.

(1) Yes, I know, my post pointed out that Apple makes their money from hardware sales and can therefore sell updates to OS X cheaper than Microsoft. Thanks for repeating what I had already said. (2) I can compare the price of software all I want, and you can compare the price of hardware all you want. Get over it already.

Northgrove said,

Service packs include HDMI-less TV connectivity support and free desktop messaging to phones?

OS X "service packs" are indicated by the "MajorArchitecture.OS.Service" versioning system, and has been so for ages. So 10.7.1 is a service pack for the initial release of 10.7.0. These indeed mostly just contain security fixes. They're released more frequently than on Windows though, so each release isn't quite as major. And they aren't called service packs.

Yes they fix or add missing features...

You realize Windows users have been streaming video to TVs, XBoxes for over 10 years over a network?

You realize that Windows users could use Messenger back in the 1990s to send text messages to phones?

So ya, this is a lot more of a Service Pack than a new OS version with the exception of a few features.

Let's put this to the Windows metric of Service Packs that are free...

Vista SP1, which Microsoft even said it offered no new features as it was a quality improvement update optimizing the new technologies in Vista...
•DirectX 10.1
•WDM 1.1 (the kernel was further updated to provide better GPU multi-tasking and scheduling, something OS X cannot even do yet.)
•EFI on x64
•exFAT
•CableCard for Media Center
•802.11n, SSTP, VM-KMS, and this list could go on for a while in just 'new' features
•If we were to includ all the trivial 'changes' and updates like Apple lists for a 'new' version of O SX, it would be a list of over 2000 specific items.
(*Reference Microsoft Whitepapers)

So that was the 'least' new feature update ever for a Microsoft Service Pack for Windows, and it is in line with Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion in new 'features' and functionality. (You also have to count the Windows Live Software updates and NEW functionality introduced in this time frame as well, as they are 'key' parts of OS X updates, like new Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail client, Messenger, Live Mesh, etc.)

This is why the famous '200 or x00 new features' lists that Apple provides when it creates a 'new' version of OS X is something non-Mac users read as a gag to get their friends to laugh.

Using Apple's Metric of a new OS, and what it considered 'new' features to list, Vista alone would have over 20,000 items on the list, and Windows 7, would have over 10,000 items on the list. Just in things changes since the previous version of Windows was released and the metric Apple uses for 'new' features to showcase to their users.
(*Seriously go find the 'complete' whitepapers on changes for Vista or Windows 7 and spend a month reading them all. If ya really want to sense how massive this is, just one or two items on the list like the Kernel memory scheduling or PAC technologies in Vista, would require a 500 page volume just to describe the changes in each technology and how it works.)

If someone ever tells you they fully understand how Windows works or all the technologies in Windows, they are lying.

OS X is starting to become System 1-9, where the changes and true architectural advances are showing their age, and is an engineering concern at Apple as they are in a constant state of putting 'duck tape' on things to keep them working with new hardware technologies.

Shadrack said,

(1) Yes, I know, my post pointed out that Apple makes their money from hardware sales and can therefore sell updates to OS X cheaper than Microsoft. Thanks for repeating what I had already said. (2) I can compare the price of software all I want, and you can compare the price of hardware all you want. Get over it already.

I was just flipping around what you said to offer another perspective. While it was in agreement with your statement, it wasn't simply repeating what you already said. You said Windows is more expensive. I said why it's more expensive.

thenetavenger said,

Using Apple's Metric of a new OS, and what it considered 'new' features to list, Vista alone would have over 20,000 items on the list, and Windows 7, would have over 10,000 items on the list. Just in things changes since the previous version of Windows was released and the metric Apple uses for 'new' features to showcase to their users.

Windows 8 is going to have so many new features that if it was an Apple product, it would have to come out in two releases, Windows 8 and Windows 8S.

thenetavenger said,

Using Apple's Metric of a new OS, and what it considered 'new' features to list, Vista alone would have over 20,000 items on the list, and Windows 7, would have over 10,000 items on the list. Just in things changes since the previous version of Windows was released and the metric Apple uses for 'new' features to showcase to their users.

Oh please... Apple will come out and say "Mountain Lion Contains 500 new features!" Microsoft will come out and say "Windows 8 comes with 20,000 new features!" none of which the user knows about or even cares about. All these new OS versions boil down to a handful of new features and improvements/changes. Both Microsoft and Apple will list tweaks to the language in a dialog box as one of their many "new features". Who cares?

Cyborg_X said,
$30 a year for a service pack.

I can play this game too.

"Windows 7" (marketing name) is actually Windows 6.1 (version number)... it's a service pack!

"Windows 8" (marketing name) is actually Windows 6.2 (version number)... it's a service pack!

lunarworks said,

I can play this game too.

"Windows 7" (marketing name) is actually Windows 6.1 (version number)... it's a service pack!

"Windows 8" (marketing name) is actually Windows 6.2 (version number)... it's a service pack!


True story…

so now OSx is more expensive then Windows.. 30 dollars a year vs getting a family pack of windows for 129.99 for 3 years .. or a family pack at 200 dollars for 3.. comes to around 20 dollars a year per licence..

also interesting that its download only so you have to buy it directly from apple.. just another way of getting away from the middle man and keeping more profits for themselves..

Lachlan said,
so now OSx is more expensive then Windows.. 30 dollars a year vs getting a family pack of windows for 129.99 for 3 years .. or a family pack at 200 dollars for 3.. comes to around 20 dollars a year per licence..

also interesting that its download only so you have to buy it directly from apple.. just another way of getting away from the middle man and keeping more profits for themselves..

I'd say it's a more expensive ecosystem all around, yes.

Lachlan said,
so now OSx is more expensive then Windows.. 30 dollars a year vs getting a family pack of windows for 129.99 for 3 years .. or a family pack at 200 dollars for 3.. comes to around 20 dollars a year per licence..

also interesting that its download only so you have to buy it directly from apple.. just another way of getting away from the middle man and keeping more profits for themselves..

I thought you could use App Store purchases on 5 Computers?

dmd83 said,

I thought you could use App Store purchases on 5 Computers?

You can. There is a chip on some people shoulders where they try and try to demonstrate that Mac OS X is more expensive than Windows but their argument only works when you over look facts.

Shadrack said,

You can. There is a chip on some people shoulders where they try and try to demonstrate that Mac OS X is more expensive than Windows but their argument only works when you over look facts.

It's just called OS X now, and Windows is awesome and well worth its price by the way.

Enron said,

It's just called OS X now, and Windows is awesome and well worth its price by the way.

I don't disagree with you. Windows is awesome, and I'm usually first in line for new versions of Windows.

still1 said,
So $30 every year??? OSX update is getting expensive if it is at this rate.

I'm personally still waiting for all the major bugs in lion to be fixed atm.

still1 said,
So $30 every year??? OSX update is getting expensive if it is at this rate.

Still not as bad as a new phone every year.

still1 said,
So $30 every year??? OSX update is getting expensive if it is at this rate.

Exactly. If they were so aligning it with iOS, they should have given it for free. And made money of it, just through the sales of the hardware.
That may have actually given them a break-through in the market share.

FMH said,
Exactly. If they were so aligning it with iOS, they should have given it for free.
To be fair, we don't know if they're going to make the updates free or not. We're just making an educated guess that it'll be $30.

still1 said,
So $30 every year??? OSX update is getting expensive if it is at this rate.

A few points. (1) the price hasn't been announced yet as already mentioned it could be free, (2) For the number of features listed in this update $30 is dirt cheep, (3) nobody is forcing anyone to upgrade anything if they don't want to.

Elliott said,
To be fair, we don't know if they're going to make the updates free or not. We're just making an educated guess that it'll be $30.

dont get your hopes up about the pricing because its apple....

still1 said,

dont get your hopes up about the pricing because its apple....

Come again? Apple's software has become dirt cheap since the App Store was introduced. I wonder what Microsoft will expect people to put down for Windows 7 Metro Slapped On Edition...

.Neo said,

Come again? Apple's software has become dirt cheap since the App Store was introduced. I wonder what Microsoft will expect people to put down for Windows 7 Metro Slapped On Edition...

That's the point... its might not be cheap anymore

still1 said,

That's the point... its might not be cheap anymore
You're right. It might be free instead. Apple's trend right now is to make things less expensive, not more.

still1 said,

That's the point... its might not be cheap anymore

There's really ZERO reason to expect that. Trolls must be getting desperate these days.

.Neo said,

Come again? Apple's software has become dirt cheap since the App Store was introduced. I wonder what Microsoft will expect people to put down for Windows 7 Metro Slapped On Edition...

Yah but Apple releases a new OS like every year or two. Microsofts software last a while. OSX new every year for $30 or a new Windows every few years for $200. It pretty much equates. I'm a Mac user btw [MB 2010 mid].
Apple doesn't really release any "new" features, in matter of fact (proven by my latest Airport utility update, they seem to take away features every release to make it "simpler". It appears I may have to fully switch to Ubuntu eventually to have elegance and customizability.

SpeedyTheSnail said,

Yah but Apple releases a new OS like every year or two. Microsofts software last a while.

3 years… Microsoft's goal is a release every 3 years…

Indeed, Apple's applications on the App Store are incredibly cheap. I'm thinking about iWork with $20 apps, iLife with $15 apps, and the best example is Final Cut Pro that is $300 while Premiere is $815.

Plus, you're not forced to upgrade OS X every year for $30. If they release one every year and Windows every 3 years, you still pay $90 instead of $150.

.Neo said,

Come again? Apple's software has become dirt cheap since the App Store was introduced. I wonder what Microsoft will expect people to put down for Windows 7 Metro Slapped On Edition...
About as much as people have been paying for all the Windows 3.1 Preemptive-Multitasking-64-bit-Desktop-Composition-and-NTFS Slapped On Editions

dumbass.

Arthax said,
About as much as people have been paying for all the Windows 3.1 Preemptive-Multitasking-64-bit-Desktop-Composition-and-NTFS Slapped On Editions

so 0$ as they never combined Win3.1 with NTFS

Arthax said,
About as much as people have been paying for all the Windows 3.1 Preemptive-Multitasking-64-bit-Desktop-Composition-and-NTFS Slapped On Editions

dumbass.

I think he was making a point that just flew right over your head. Calling Mountain Lion a "service pack" is just as silly as calling Windows 8 "Windows 7 Metro Slapped On Edition".

Elliott said,
I think he was making a point that just flew right over your head. Calling Mountain Lion a "service pack" is just as silly as calling Windows 8 "Windows 7 Metro Slapped On Edition".

well from what I've seen everything since Vista should have been a Vista-service pack as there were way less fundamental changes compared from the switch from NT5 to NT6…

.Neo said,

There's really ZERO reason to expect that. Trolls must be getting desperate these days.

u call that troll??? hen what do u call most of the post??? it funny how people who cant defend say troll to any post they see...

Elliott said,
You're right. It might be free instead. Apple's trend right now is to make things less expensive, not more.

dont get ur hopes too high.... apple are not know to give anything for cheap or free.