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13 , 2000
Mac users are starting to take anything Steve Jobs says during a keynote with a grain of salt. The latest deviation from promises made during convention speeches came today when Apple announced it will offer the Mac OS X beta as a $30 CD that can only be ordered through the Apple Store, rather than as a free download.
Users are not amused.
All across the Internet, angry posts litter user forums, deriding Apple for failing to deliver on its promises and daring to charge $30 for beta software.
In addition, those who wanted to order the OS X beta CD right away weren't able to get through. Earlier this morning we experienced "Forbidden" errors, as well as connection failures and failure of the Apple Store site to load properly.
We were able to access the Apple Store for the first time today at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. The promised shipping time for the beta is one day. However, after that shipping time, the fastest delivery method available through the Apple Store is three days, and that bumps the price up another $10. And, owing to the weekend, the earliest conceivable delivery would be Monday, Sept. 18.
Also, on top of everything else, reading the terms of the beta agreement, we found that the $30 OS X beta does have an expiration.
The agreement states: "The term of this License shall commence upon your installation or use of the Apple Software and will terminate automatically without notice from Apple upon the commercial release of the Apple Software, or May 15, 2001, whichever occurs first. Your rights under this License will also terminate automatically without notice from Apple if you fail to comply with any term(s) of this License. Upon the termination of this License, you shall cease all use of the Apple Software and destroy all copies, full or partial, of the Apple Software."
Earlier this morning it was literally impossible to connect to the Apple Store server to order the software at all. The server generated several errors, including one particularly amusing one, seen here in a screen shot.
The application referred to is not, of course, OS X, but it does seem ironic owing to numerous Mac users' doubts about Apple being able to deliver OS X when promised.
Also part of the software agreement is a warning not to use the software in situations where failure of the software could lead to injury or death: "THE APPLE SOFTWARE IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS, LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES OR OTHER EQUIPMENT IN WHICH THE FAILURE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE COULD LEAD TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE."
For users who do purchase the CD, here's what Apple says to expect: "Mac OS X features true memory protection, preemptive multitasking, and symmetric multiprocessing when running on the new dual-processor Power Mac G4 line. It includes Apple's new Quartz 2D graphics engine (based on PDF); OpenGL for 3D graphics and gaming; and QuickTime for streaming audio and video."
The Mac OS X public beta is supposed to include several applications, including Apple's new Mail client (IMAP and POP compatible) and new versions of the QuickTime player and Sherlock Internet searching tool, as well as a beta version of Microsoft's latest Internet Explorer.
For more information, visit http://www.apple.com.
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