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Let’s Download Snow Leopard

September 28th, 2009

If we can download a movie from iTunes, why can’t we download Snow Leopard?

In the past, the two main obstacles for downloading full versions of an OS were piracy concerns and bandwidth requirements.

As Apple has successfully demonstrated with HD movie rentals, these are both already overcome. HD movie rentals are 3+ GB downloads and the Apple DRM is pretty hard to crack. At 6.74 GB, Snow Leopard would be a big download, but still very doable for users with high-speed internet.


Pros for Legal OS Downloads

Easy to buy. Instant gratification. Don’t need a working DVD drive (MacBook Air and problematic SuperDrives.) Save on packaging and shipping costs.

Cons for Legal OS Downloads

Hard to do a clean install (could be overcome with net enabled EFI or the option to backup to a disk.) Apple’s bandwidth cost for serving up the downloads (made up for in packaging and shipping costs?) Box retailers won’t get a cut of the profit (this could also be a pro:)

While there is still value in the actual disks to some users, adding a download option would make upgrading the OS faster, easier and greener.

As the App Store continues to take off and bandwidth continues to get faster, I’d say there’s a good chance that we’ll see 10.7 offered as a legal download.

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