Apple's SA users left out in the cold (Again!) (Updated: Digicape comes to the rescue)

The release of Apple’s OS X Lion is old news now (in tech time), and I have resisted the urge to immediately upgrade to the latest operating system because, frankly, I have no real reason to. Snow Leopard caters for my needs perfectly in that I don’t even realise it’s there. Everything just works. However, as a technophile and one with friends who have already upgraded, you quickly start thinking of all the enhancements and how it has the potential to not, on the surface, dramatically change the user experience, it would definitely augment the experience. And lets be honest $29 for a new operating system, ensures that it is not much of a budgetary decision for most Mac users. But alas, as South Africans, we have to always consider our bandwidth constraints before lauding moves towards a cloud based software/ computing environment.

For super users with unlimited data packages, this is obviously something that does not require any consideration, but for the majority of us ‘medio-users’ we have thoughtfully selected a data plan based on our usage/ budget. Downloading a 4Gb operating system is not something is a once off that most of us never considered. Furthermore the constraints involved with downloading large files , is another consideration. I recall numerous attempts at downloading iOS 4.3.1 when it was launched before deciding to rather just download the file (ability to resume download after losing connection) and update manually via iTunes. I dreaded the thought of how I was going to download the mammoth Lion file.
Whilst researching the problem (thanks Google!) I discovered the rather simple solution. Apple in the US and Canada are inviting users who have purchased Lion but have data caps and connectivity issues to use the WiFi at their official Apple Stores to download the OS. Awesome. That sounds infinitely better that the ridiculous option of a $69 USB memory stick loaded with Lion. So, the main gist of my article is not SA’s bandwidth constraints or any of the awesome new features in Lion, but rather the response from our local iStores.
At my next visit to the mall, I stopped at the iStore to enquire on whether this is an option here. There response was that it wasn’t, but instead I could purchase it from the Appstore, stop the download as soon as it begins and bring the receipt to the iStore. They will then give me a DVD with Lion installed. Awesome right! Because surely they only have to download it once, and then just burn the image onto DVD’s or they must have recovery disks they need should a machine not be working. WRONG! Once I purchase Lion form the Appstore for $29, I then need to pay them a further R150 (approx $22). At least with the aforementioned nonsensical USB option you get a cool Apple USB stick!
I would honestly have been comfortable paying, say R50, for the Lion DVD even though I know what the cost of a recordable DVD-R is. And I know that I am therefore really just upset about R100. But it is not just the R100. It is the principle. The Apple users in South Africa are just as passionate about Apple products as those in the US. If you cut us, do we not bleed! If you launch a new iPhone, do we not rush off to buy it! In fact, it could be argued that we are more so, considering the premium we pay for the same hardware. The move to the cloud promises us salvation from this unfair-ness, well at least for the software, but until we resolve our bandwidth constraints, the cloud still seems some distance away.
Update from Ed: Turns out Digicape comes to the rescue. If you show them your receipt of your Lion purchase, they will supply you with a image of Lion, for free. Talk to the guys at @digimates to get yourself sorted.
Well done Digicape.
Image: Lifehacker
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