Apple expands free Lion upgrade offer

It now includes all Snow Leopard-equipped Macs bought from June 6 on

Apple on Wednesday spelled out the details of its free Lion upgrade offer, saying that the deal also applies to Macs bought after the new operating system's debut.

Previously, Apple had said that only Macs purchased between June 6 and the arrival of Lion would be eligible for the Mac OS Lion Up-to-Date Program.

Apple normally charges $29.99 for Lion.

On its website, Apple laid out the deal to customers.

Buyers who purchased a new or Apple-refurbished Mac between June 8 and July 20 must complete and submit an online form no later than Aug. 19 to receive a redemption code that, when entered in the Mac App Store, lets them download a free copy of Mac OS X 10.7, aka Lion.

People who buy a Mac after June 20, however, are also eligible for a free upgrade if the machine does not include Lion. In other words, Snow Leopard-powered Macs already in the sales channel -- on a store shelf, say, or in a warehouse -- also qualify for the program.

Those users must submit their online request for Lion within 30 days of the purchase date, Apple said.

Only Macs purchased through Apple's online store, at Apple's brick-and-mortar stores and at authorized Apple resellers are entitled to a free Lion upgrade.

Customers can determine whether the seller is Apple-authorized by entering their zip code or city and state in the field at the far right on this website, or by checking this list of online resellers.

Both Lion and Lion Server are included in the Up-to-Date Program. A free copy of the latter, essentially an $49.99 add-on for Lion, will be offered to people who purchased a Mac Mini Server or Mac Pro Server.

A complete list of eligible Macs, both new and Apple refurbished, is available on the company's website.

According to the deal's terms, the free copy of Lion can be installed only on the recently-purchased Macs and cannot be used to upgrade other Macs that the customer owns.

"The OS X Lion software content code must be used solely with the products that qualify for this offer," Apple's terms stated.

Although some customers reported problems obtaining redemption codes Wednesday, that issue has apparently been fixed.

Early yesterday, readers of Cult of Mac said that they were refused a code when their machines' serial numbers were judged invalid, even though they bought the systems through the Apple online store during the eligible period.

Others reported similar problems on Apple's support forum.

Apple has posted details of the Up-to-Date Program and instructions for obtaining a redemption code on its website.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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