The future is here and I’m giddy. Rumors abound that Apple is planning to eliminate most, if not all, boxed software in their retail stores. As a guy that remembers what it was like to install System 7 on eight-ish floppy disks, I couldn’t be more delighted to rid the world of a helluva lot of waste.
This also leaves Apple stores with more room for accessories and computers, making an Apple store experience an almost entirely Apple one. Here’s a few reasons why I think this rocks and what it means for Apple fans.
1. Apple Retail has been moving this way for a while
I worked for Apple Retail post-iPod but pre-Intel, and I remember the vast majority in the middle of our sales floor being used by shelf after shelf of software. It was the loneliest section by a long shot, and one we seldom, if ever, brought customers to. We spent most of our time showing people the actual computers, and if we needed Microsoft Office or an Adobe product, we’d go grab it ourselves. I can’t remember a single time I sold someone on a piece of software by showing them the box. Now Apple’s stores are iPads and iPhones first, followed by laptops, then desktops, then accessories and finally, software.
2. Piracy gets harder
Sharing purchased software than ran on a Mac is easy. I handed the person the box, they installed it, and unless it was a Microsoft product that didn’t allow the same serial number to be used on the same LAN, you were free to use that software without consequence. This likely lost Apple a few iWork sales, but I doubt they cared. Their money is in the impossible-to-steal hardware, anyway. I have no idea how to pirate a Mac App store app, and I’m not sure I even care to learn.
3. Compatibility issues go away
Ever bought the Windows version of something only to find out it won’t work? How about an expansion pack? Or maybe that time I bought Quicken from my community college, dared to peel off the plastic outer wrap, only to discover it was Windows only? Shit out of luck I was. With the Mac App store, this won’t happen to n00bs and if it happens again to me, that’s my own damn fault.
4. Apps will be available anywhere
Even if you’re stuck in the boonies on a dial-up connection (yes, they do still exist), buying software through the Mac App store is only a drive to WiFi away. No more waiting in for a box in the mail or a trip into the big city. Great for my livin’ in the boonies friends.
5. No more waste
Most software comes in a far too large box, has an instructional manual that no one ever reads and stores the program itself on a CD/DVD that scratches when blown on. I despise having to hold on to all this stuff and I dislike tossing it away even more. Less waste is good for everyone.
What do you think? Does this matter? Do you care?