Apple wants to phase out boxed software in its retail stores sooner rather than later, a report suggests.

Mac Rumours claims that it has heard from its sources that Apple wants to get rid of software boxes in the near future and instead push digital distribution through the Mac App Store.

The report offers few other details but cites the recent introduction of personal setup services for people buying Macs in Apple Stores as evidence that Apple wants to educate its customers to use the Mac App Store as their first port of call for software.

However, the Mac App Store is far from being the perfect platform for software delivery just yet, despite many reports of praise from developers - some even going so far to say that they plan to go App Store exclusive in the near future.

Last week, a row broke out over alleged software piracy in the Mac App Store and other developers have experienced problems with the review process and Apple's refusal to let software that uses private APIs into the store.

Another problem is that many popular software packages for Mac such as Microsoft Office and Adobe's Photoshop aren't available through the Mac App Store at the moment, though Microsoft is reportedly considering adopting this strategy.

But digital distribution is the future for software, many would argue, and if Apple gets the ball rolling it could pave the way for the emergence of other app stores and the end of boxed software in the not too distant future.