Pick It Up, Save On Shipping (9/14/01)
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Good news for Mac OS X early adopters: it looks like those "unconfirmed rumors" of alternate 10.1 distribution methods may have just graduated into the realm of verifiable fact. If you can still remember those halcyon days when we all actually thought that things like a $20 upgrade fee was something worth getting upset about (that's right-- stretch those brains back to last week), you may recall a ruckus because Apple was planning to charge existing Mac OS X customers a $19.95 "shipping and handling" fee in order to upgrade to the long-awaited 10.1 release. Since the only way to get the update was on CD via mail (i.e. there would be no downloadable version), several people saw this as an unfair extra expense just to gain the speed, stability, and features that should have been in Mac OS X 10.0 in the first place.

Since Apple was calling the 10.1 CD-ROM a "free update" plus $19.95 shipping and handling, last month we suggested that the company consider at least giving out those free CDs at its own retail stores. Our figuring was that Apple has to ship promotional materials and merchandise to its stores all the time anyway, so throwing in some extra CDs should be well within the noise as far as shipping costs are concerned. That way, at least the Mac OS X users who are fortunate enough to live near one of Apple's stores could pick up their updates without shelling out a couple of sawbucks.

Last week we mentioned that there were rumors swirling that Apple was preparing to do exactly that-- obviously because The Mothership hangs on our every word here at AtAT (which is why they're going to SEND US A FREE QUICKSILVER tout de suite). Well, now the Mac Night Owl is reporting that the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg confirmed the rumors yesterday: "People who currently use OS X can get the 10.1 upgrade free on CDs that will be available in some stores." While it's true that even the Great Walt can make mistakes, the Mac Night Owl actually contacted Apple and confirmed that the company is indeed planning on handing out upgrade CDs at stores.

Here's the real kicker, though: it's implied that this whole "free CD" thing isn't just limited to Apple's own retail stores. While "it's not certain just which dealers will get a stock of CDs," if Apple is really planning on making 10.1 "available to as many Mac OS X users as possible," it sounds to us like users might even be able to grab a disc for free at their local CompUSA or Micro Center. If that comes to pass, we know there are going to be an awful lot of happy Mac users come the end of the month.

By the way, when last we raised this issue in more innocent times, we suggested that viewers who saved twenty bucks by getting their 10.1 upgrade CDs at an Apple retail store instead of by mail go ahead and spend it on an AtAT t-shirt. We'd like to amend that suggestion; send it to the Red Cross instead.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 9/14/01 episode:

September 14, 2001: Thought you missed the Apple store opening in Tampa this morning? Fear not-- it's actually tomorrow. Meanwhile, Apple confirms that Mac OS X 10.1 update CD-ROMs will be distributed for free at certain Apple dealerships, and the Apple Store Northshore team finds out that Genius Bar water isn't just for breakfast anymore...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3300: Tampa Opening, Take Two (9/14/01)   Life goes on, and so does retail. We imagine that many of you might have decided not to show up to today's scheduled Apple store grand opening at International Plaza in Tampa, thinking that, in light of recent events, celebrating something as ultimately meaningless as the opening of a computer store (yes, even an Apple store) would be crass or disrespectful...

  • 3302: LOCAL STAFF MAKES GOOD (9/14/01)   This just in: Apple store employees continue to lend a hand during these troubled times. Yesterday we noted that the staff at the Mall of America location helped travelers stranded by the air travel ban by assisting them in using the store's Internet access to email their families, check on flights, and rent cars...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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