Is Apple’s OS X Lion upgrade plan misguided?

First, “a positive: Hardware support for [Apple’s OS X] Lion seems pretty extensive. Just about any Intel-based Mac released since the middle to latter part of 2006, meaning an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better, will work with Lion,” Gene Steinberg writes for TechNightOwl. “A five-year Window is pretty good for Apple. At the same time, I expect that the $29 upgrade price for Snow Leopard, plus loads of new Macs sold since 10.6 arrived in August of 2009, only leaves a small number of eligible Mac users still using Leopard or Tiger.”

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“However, to upgrade to Lion from Leopard, it’s a double installation at best,” Steinberg writes. “First they have to upgrade to Snow Leopard, and upgrade that initial installation to 10.6.7 (Mac App Store debuted in 10.6.6). The reason is that Lion will only be available via that route. There will be no retail upgrade kits, no DVDs. That’s the price you pay for convenience, assuming downloading a 4GB file is convenient for you.”

Steinberg writes, “Once you’ve running 10.6.7 or later (and there’s a rumor of a 10.6.8 under development as we speak), you can then install Lion. Does this make sense for the company whose products ‘just work?'”

Read more in the full article, in which Steinberg asserts that, “at the very least, Apple ought to consider a combo installer DVD in a retail package at a special price, say $39,” here.

MacDailyNews Take: What do you think? Is Apple’s OS X Lion upgrade plan misguided? Are you running Mac OS X 10.6.7 Snow Leopard? Is a 4GB download a huge or non-issue for you?


  1. I agree – this is not going to work out so well for many people. I purchased the 4GB+ Xcode 4 from the App Store, and it has not gone so well. It took a couple hours to download, didn’t work the first time. Huge time sink. No thanks, Apple, I will stick with Snow Leopard.

  2. MANY people in rural areas only have satellite internet, or just phone modems. And many in rural areas are hundreds of miles away from an Apple store. For these people not being able to purchase a DVD at a small premium will be a deal breaker. This country is not yet sufficiently wired (and has no hope of being so in the foreseeable future) to rely on the internet as the sole means of delivering huge software programs.

    1. Absolutely true. Our networks are woefully behind the times thanks to the greed and stupidity of Comcast, AT&T, et al. For years, they’ve milked their aging networks for every penny they could squeeze out of their customers… And now here comes Apple with a grand scheme that will sink like a stone if forced to depend on the internet we have today. Only Verizon is even attempting to roll out a 21st-century network, and theirs is available in only a few select cities. The whole industry has been caught with their pants down, and Steve Jobs may be aiming a little too far ahead of the puck in this instance. Time will tell.

    2. I agree completely with Boonies Gal. Although I may be in a position to get Lion in July, beginning in August I will (again) be in a place with bandwidth issues. A disk is important to many people. Really, I expect Apple to make a disk available for this and other reasons. Those who live in urban areas, or who have good bandwidth won’t understand the issues BG has raised.

  3. Won’t be a problem for me, but it makes a lot of sense to offer a tangible upgrade product for those still using older versions of OS X or living without broadband.

  4. i never bothered getting the family pack to upgrade my home computers from leopard to snow leopard since leopard worked just fine. if i had known i would need snow leopard i would have bought the family pack and gotten some use out of it. now to find out i need snow leopard just to get to lion sounds like a microsoft approach to things.

  5. I think what this article is missing is this:
    Iif users are interested in upgrading they have snow leopard. If not, they won’t be interested in Lion.

    Maybe a new self contained install could be introduced at a higher price as it contains more than just the delta.

  6. It’s a problem, yes… for some, like me.

    My Macs are production machines and I have them frozen at 10.6.5 because I can’t risk new updates breaking current software/functionality.

    No App Store for me, so I’d first have to update to 10.6.7, then download from the App Store, then extract the DMG, burn a DVD – and then update (I like to do clean installs… it’s better for the system).

    As for people with slow ISP’s, I suppose they could just set a Genius Bar appointment and have their Mac updated for them. But what about all the customers that don’t have an Apple Store nearby?

  7. it’s just stupid to start complaining on these subjects. Of COURSE apple has it figured out, all the different routes of upgrading. Lion is just presented more or less as as a teaser and why the f###k should they take precious time at wwdc to go thru all technicalities petaining to all different scenarios in the mac community???

    1. lol I hope that’s sarcasm. Why would they ever choose to get technical at the wwDEVELOPERconference? Are you kidding me? I don’t know…that sounds like crazy thinking to me. But I’m willing to be stranger things have happened. 🙂

  8. Oh, another one! I have friends who are very Mac-savvy, but they live in a remote area. To get internet access, they had to put a 110-foot tower on their property for a line-of-sight radio connection with the ISP. The connection is still very slow. I doubt very much that it would be possible for them to download Lion from the Mac App Store within their lifetimes.

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