Apple seeds 10.5.2 build 9C23; massive 500MB

Following our recent report on the “Mac Pro build” of OS X Leopard, 9C16 and recent seeds of 10.5.2, Apple has posted a new seed for third party developers to evaluate, 9C23. The already extremely lengthy changelist and fast-growing update package is now over well into the hundreds of megabytes and could eventually exceed 400MB(!), making it the single largest point update to OS X ever.

Depending on whether one is updating a PowerPC or Intel Mac, packages could vary from 250 to upwards of 400MB in size, and some on the grapevine believe its final weigh-in could be very close to five hundred megabytes.

Either way, it will be a huge download and there has been a lot of debate at Infinite Loop, according to reliable sources, as to whether the update should be split into multiple packages (the core system update, and individual updates to applications or components), hold back some changes for Security Updates that will follow shortly after the point upgrade…..or a more unusual solution, such as offering the update with a nominal pricetag of a few dollars on a CD-ROM disk for purchase at the Apple Store, to ease the burden on modem users or others for whom such a massive download is impractical.

For the rest of us, in the broadband age, a 500MB download isn’t such a big deal, but it will still be a huge strain on Cupertino’s bandwidth at a time when things like HD movie rentals and other new offerings are already rapidly expanding Infinite Loop’s bandwidth usage.

To prepare for the update, which was originally slated to have already been released but due to a huge changelog and the need for extra upstream bandwidth to be allocated for the huge surge that the Software Update release will bring, Apple’s network engineers have been frantically working overtime and on weekends to install new fiber, routers, servers and infrastructure to be ready for this.

One 500MB download might not be enough to bring Apple’s servers to a crawl on their own, or even coupled with the new HD movie downloads and ever-growing iTunes Store…..but Apple is also about to begin offering iPhone applications for sale and has a “major new .Mac related offering” to announce in March — about which we will soon be rumor-mongering, so stay tuned on that! — so adapting to all of these needs at once has proven quite a challenge for the usually unflappable network techs in Cupertino.

According to reliable sources, the final release of 10.5.2 will most likely come around build 9C40 and should arrive well before the end of February — quite possibly in as little as two weeks, if Tron’s latest “postcards from Silicon Valley” are accurate — so stay tuned for all the latest OS X update coverage and all the dirt that’s fit to print right here on Mac OS Rumors!

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  • Ken

    It’s not that large. Apple is doing HD rentals now (or will be soon). Compared to that, half-a-gig is small. Apple should make it available the usual way (through Software Update), and for those with lower bandwidth, make an update CD or DVD to give away for free at the Apple Stores. Don’t charge for it, since the reason it’s so large is Apple’s mistake. When Apple released Mac OS X 10.1, it gave away free update CDs at MacWorld and at the stores for the early adopters who paid for Mac OS X 10.0.

  • Plugs ‘N Pixels

    IT folks such as myself should think about doing only one download and locally applying it to the rest of the computers using Apple Remote Desktop. It would be a crazy strain on everyone’s bandwidth to do individual downloads for each machine in multiple labs or offices!

  • jimmy

    I always download & burn the 10.x.x.x Combined updaters anyway…

  • Matt

    I don’t think bandwidth is an issue.. Honestly, who can’t steal a WiFi connection somewhere that has high speed access if they can’t get it at home? This is 2008 after all..