MacRumors posts that Apple is getting rid of boxed software in its stores this morning.

Based on what we’ve heard, however, Apple is planning on making the move to all digital sooner than expected at their retail stores. Apple is working towards eliminating boxed software and presumably focusing sales through the Mac App Store. Apple’s recent plans to start offering Personal Setup for Mac seems to be in line with that goal.

They quote this line from a previous 9to5mac post:

When you purchase a Mac at an Apple Retail store an employee will help you setup your e-mail accounts, walk you through the Mac App Store, setup an iTunes account for you, and show you the basic pointers of owning a Mac. Some stores will even have dedicated Mac setup stations.

Sure, you may ask about software that can’t be put in the App Store.  Like Apple’s OSes for instance.  Or Hard Drive utilities.  Or Creative Suite.  Or any software that doesn’t fit in the App Store for one reason or another.

That’s a good question because those products are on Apple’s store shelves now and there doesn’t appear to be a quick replacement.  Perhaps we’re seeing a move to USB software installers (Which still need a physical container).  With 8GB USB sticks at around $10, it may make more sense to install off of USB rather than DL-DVD, especially for the expensive stuff.  Apple included an 8GB USB software reinstall stick with its Air for instance.

Either way, with USB installers or without, the change may also signal a move away from optical in Apple products….   We’ve been harping on and on about the Air growing a 15-inch screen and some more battery life to compete with the Pros in the same area.  If you don’t have boxed software/USB sticks and Apple delivers movies and music via the interwebs/iTunes, you don’t need optical drives anymore, do you?

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