Mac OS X Leopard demo?

I was thinking how cool it would be if Apple was to work together with either VMWare or Parallels and create a free-to-download, combined demo of the VM and Leopard. The player/ISO would work for up to 30 days, just enough to get people excited about the VM and OSX. If they clean up most of the unneeded files, the compressed archive doesn’t have to be bigger than 1 GB (easily downloadable by most cable/DSL users).

I believe that this would be a great opportunity for Apple to get their OS to as many generic PCs as possible and introduce it to potential customers. Before, this was not possible because Tiger was already out and about when the port to x86 was finalized, and the engineers had too much in their plate. But now that a brand new OS version is coming out soon, a demo would be a good marketing move. And because it would run in a controlled VM environment, Apple wouldn’t have to worry about driver compatibility issues with the components plethora that exists in the PC market.

While BeOS was already discontinued by that time, when BeOS5PE came out it was downloaded 1.3 million times at a time where the overall userbase was not bigger than ~60,000 users. BeOS lived a pretty successful post-period for 2 more years because of that free demo, even if it was completely discontinued internally at Be. I bet that if Apple offers an OSX demo it would really help their sales by a huge lot.

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Dan Brokeau wrote on December 16th, 2006 at 10:16 AM PST:

I don’t really think that would make much of a dent on the common user–the one who goes to CompUSA to buy a Celeron PC with 256 MB RAM. Probably because of the speed.

Maybe if they set up a central cluster which let you VNC, it would have a little more effect.

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Eugenia wrote on December 16th, 2006 at 10:36 AM PST:

Actually, VNC would be a very bad idea. VNC is super-slow because it moves bitmaps, it’s not “intelligent” as WinXP’s remoting is.

As for the users who buy a Celeron PC with 256 MBs of RAM, these are already out of the Apple spectrum of potential customers. Apple wouldn’t care about these people.

To run OSX on a VM under XP/Vista, it would require the user to have a PC with at least 1.5 Ghz CPU, 1 GB of RAM (512 for OSX and 512 for Windows) and 4 GBs of free space. The RAM spec already puts the virtualized OSX offer under the map for power users who obviously have the money to spend to buy a Mac.

IMHO, if BeOS5PE yielded over 1 mil downloads (45 MBs) in 2001, OSX at 1 GB archive can yield over 25 million today. Many of these will become eventual customers. I think it’s a win-win situation for Apple.

Ludovic Hirlimann wrote on December 17th, 2006 at 10:48 AM PST:

I would be interested in how Apple would split the cost of the download, with the VM provider.
If this happens it they better use somme p2p technology.

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