On Apple Eliminating Boxed Software
MacRumors reports Apple may eliminate boxed software inventory from its retail stores.
Boxed Mac software purchased over the past year: Adobe CS5, Turbo Tax (had a Costco coupon), and iLife (the Mac App Store hadn’t launched yet). The rest were downloads (StarCraft 2, Adobe Font Folio, VMware Fusion, TextWrangler, various Mac shareware, OSX updates, iOS apps).
The arguments for downloaded software outweigh those against.
- Physical media seems increasingly wasteful: Usually the boxed software DVD is loaded once and then put into storage, never to be used again. The box, disc, space taken up by the boxes, etc. is frankly inefficient.
- Convenience. Even for large files (StarCraft 2 was several GB), downloading over broadband is still faster than ordering a box online and waiting days for it to arrive, or getting in a car and driving to a store if you add in parking and waiting in line.
- No DVD drive on my MacBook Air, and likely, other future Macs. System software came on a USB flash drive.
- Music CDs have been replaced with iTunes, movies on DVD replaced by iTunes and Netflix, film and glossy prints replaced by digital cameras and files.
- Mental comfort of physical media as a backup is easily eliminated – burn the downloaded files to your own DVD, copy them to a USB drive, or set up Time Machine.
The only argument against I can think of is missed sales opportunity to people visiting physical Apple retail stores to purchase software.
But the best argument against physical media for software: The iPhone / iPad has no DVD drive. All iOS apps are delivered online via iTunes. This was true since day one of apps, and hasn’t hampered my experience in the slightest. The thought of purchasing an iPad app on a DVD or even a USB stick for installation sounds downright bizarre – and should point out how boxed Mac software is a dead end.
So let’s see if I can go through the rest of 2011 not purchasing any software in physical form for my Macs. Don’t think it will prove remotely difficult since over the past few years, I haven’t missed purchasing CDs and DVDs or physical media for iOS apps in the slightest.