Apple has recently launched its new product the OS X Lion. However, in a strange decision by Apple, the new OS will be delivered over the web via the Mac App Store. In addition, the Mac App Store is only availble on the Snow Leopard so those wanting to upgrading to Lion must grab the Snow Leopard first, which require users to grab the Leopard first. Users wanting to skip Leopard would have to purchase the the $170 Mac Box Set, which contains both Leopard and Snow Leopard. However, some users have reported success in skiping the Leopard version before going to the Snow Leopard, which is technically breaking the Terms of Conditions. However, Apple making this near impossible by only offering the Lion as a digital download.
The recent Mac OS X upgrades is in my opinion, similiar to the Windows Service Pack since they are not "whole" operating system and require the previous release to run. On a plus side, the new operating system only cost $29.99 or about £18.34. However, the decision by Apple to go entirely digital can cause numerious problems to users. For one thing, users with an extremely slow connection would suffer the most. Most operating systems are many gigabytes large, which would take hours or even days to download over an extremely slow connection (dialup users may take months ). Edit: In a recent article I found that the OS X Lion would just be 4 GB large. That's still too large for confort for those running slow OS'S
This upgrade path would cause problems for those running Windows using Boot Camp since they require specific drivers from Apple before Microsoft's OS will work properly on a Mac. Most of the time these drivers can be obtained through the OS X installation disc, although it also can get be obtained them from Apple as a download via Boot Camp Assistant.
But if the Assistant cannot find the drivers, then you are out of luck unless you have an OS X disk.
Another problem that user may encounter is installation failure. operating system installs is not as easy as pie. There is a high possibliity that it may fail and the user may end up with a dead system. In addition, since the new Lion install is peresumably be designed to be over the top installation keeping all the settings of the previous version, all the problems the user may face with the previous operating system (ie driver issues) may be carried over. Malware may or may not be carried over. In many cases Mac doing a fresh install would do it some good as the machine ages.
A third problem is recovery option in case of PC failure. On most OS's if an OS fails, the user can reinstall the OS via the CD or use the CD onboard repair tool to boot. But unless you have the disk or bothered to burn the recovery tool, you would be stuck with a dead operating system.
A fourth problem is the installation path. Presumably those owning OS X Tiger would have to buy the Leopard OS before upgrading to a Snow Leopard and finally upgrading to a Lion. The total of the upgrade would amount to more than £150.81 (£132.47 for the box retail set (Amazon) plus £18.34 for the Lion upgrade). Those with older OS's would have to pay even more. On the other hand, Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium is retailing on Amazon for just £118.58 or just £81.95 for the upgrade from XP or Vista. Those owning an even older Mac would face a bigger cost to upgrade their OS (Old Mac --> Tiger --> Leopard --> Snow Leopard --> Lion )