With the release of the first developer preview of Mac OS X Lion, Apple broke from tradition by offering the preview exclusively through the Mac App Store.
While a novel concept, distribution via the App Store has been anything but smooth, according to TechCrunch. The problem, it seems, stems from a desire on Apple's part to limit the number of people using Lion only to those who should have access.
Rather than posting the Lion preview to the Apple Developer Center - as is the case for pre-release iOS and Snow Leopard builds - developers are required to log in to the App Store and redeem a special code. Unfortunately, Apple appeared to have underestimated the popularity the developer preview would enjoy, with the App Store reportedly slowing to a crawl - or failing completely - in the hours after the preview was announced.
It was at that point that many developers discovered their redemption code was a one-time-only affair; if their download failed (and many reportedly did), they were unable to begin the Lion preview download anew.
Apple also appears to have broken from the usual practice of being able to re-download App Store applications, with the Lion preview only able to be downloaded to one machine, though some have reported success with manually copying the install files to another machine.
Ironically, Apple's strict distribution methods for the OS X Lion preview, purportedly aimed at stopping piracy, appear to have made little difference - working versions of the preview hit major torrent sites within hours of its release.
As TechCrunch points out, snags in the distribution of the Lion developer preview have some questioning whether the Mac App Store is suited to the task of serving up large files such as operating system releases and updates. With Apple's continuing investment in cloud infrastructure - such as their North Carolina data centre - it's reasonable to think that at some point Apple could look to move update and OS distribution to an App Store model.
Mac OS X Lion is slated for release in Summer 2011 and will bring a range of new features, including a desktop user experience closer to that found on iOS devices.
Image Credit: Apple