Apple: Price Gouging or Incentive?

On the same day Apple Inc. announced it’s least expensive operating system ever, they also announced the availability of an overpriced (even by Apple standards) USB drive.  Lost in the Apple press release details of the newly launched OS X Lion, is the August availability of Lion in a physical media form.  If you want Lion on physical media you will have to wait until August and pay $40 extra for a USB drive it comes loaded on.

Why is Apple charging an extra $40 for a USB drive you could purchase for $7 retail? This pricing scheme is proof that the folks in Cupertino were not ditching school with Ferris Beuller and did not sleep through Ben Stein‘s economics class.  Economists believe that people’s behavior can be controlled by incentives, and paying an extra $40 for a thumb drive is a pretty big incentive to change how you acquire new software.

The $40 USB drive is just another step in Apple Inc’s war against outdated media delivery.  This War started in 1998, when Apple fired the fatal shot that ended up killing the floppy disk drive, by launching the iMac sans a disk drive.  With the announcement of iCloud and launch of the APP Store, Apple has fired another salvo alerting the world that physical media is dead.  Apple charging $40 for a USB drive, is a reminder that we already buy our music online and stream movies and TV shows, so why would we continue to buy software on a disk?

If you have a high speed Internet connection, make the smart choice and download Lion from the App Store, get it now instead of next month, save the gas needed to have it delivered or go to a store and be welcomed into the open arms of “the Cloud.”

iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

On the other hand, if you don’t have a high speed connection, you still have options.

  1. Pay the extra forty bucks and order the USB drive from Apple next month for $69.
  2. Buy a $7 thumb drive and go to the Apple Store and download Lion over their bandwidth. Then mak your own bootable USB drive.  (This tutorial walks you through the steps: http://bit.ly/rtVVfH)
  3. Bundle up your Mac, take it to the Apple Store or favorite Wi-Fi hotspot and install Lion form the App Store.

No matter how you get your Lion, know this: the Cloud has arrived and it is here to stay.  Get in or get left behind.

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