Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Announces OS X Lion & Shows How the Internet has Changed Things

OS X Lion Logo Small.png
Today at the World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco, Apple announced that the next version of their OS X operating system, named Lion in keeping with the cat theme, will be available in July.  The update will set you back $29.99 US and will be found in the online App Store.  Now I'm a Mac guy (although Windows runs my office by keeping Eaglesoft as the center of my dental practice universe) so I'm always excited when a new Mac version arrives.  However, this time something in the announcement got me to thinking about days past...
In the early days of the Internet & computing, I lived in a Windows world exclusively and I was beyond pumped for the release of Windows 95.  On the day it was released, August 24, 1995 I was one of those die hard geeks that waited in line to get my hands on a copy of the new Windows operating system.  When I got home & opened the box, I was greeted by a stack of 3.5 inch floppy disks.  In fact, the installation required 13 of those disks.  Of course, this was because the CD drive was almost unheard of back then.  Most computers did not have a CD-ROM drive, but every one of them had a floppy drive.
Fast forward to Windows 98.  Suddenly, in just 3 years the computing world had gone from floppies to CD's.  This made the install much faster & much easier.  Suddenly it seemed like any type of software came on a CD.  OS updates continued to arrive on optical disks for years.  My last Mac update, Snow Leopard, was installed from a DVD.
So what does this have to do with today & the announcement of LIon's availability next month?  Well, listen to this... Apple will not be distributing this software on a DVD.  No, Lion will be available only by download from the App Store. That's right, there will be no "boxed" version of the software.  The 4GB update will only be available over the Internet.
What does this mean?  Welcome to The Cloud.  It means that broadband proliferation has become so mainstream there is no reason to sell DVD's.
If you can't even buy your computer's operating system on a disc, what does that say for the future of movies, music, etc?  Why did Apple also announce their iCloud service to compete with Amazon's Cloud Player?  The rules just changed.  The network is now at least as important as the computer.  It's a web based world.

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