Apple to sell Mac OS X Lion on USB thumb drives

You weren’t alone if you believed that Apple would only be making Mac OS X Lion available to existing customers as a download from the Mac App Store. For Mac users with limited ability to get online, or whose web connections aren’t as speedy or reliable as they’d like, the prospect of having no option other than to download the 3.5GB update was not an appealing one.

Thankfully, though, as AppleInsider reports, Apple has confirmed that it will be making other options available to ensure that you can infuse your Mac with all that Lion goodness, without having to exhaust your internet connection.

From next month, Apple will be selling Lion on USB thumb drives, exclusively through its online store… but the price of such convenience is a high one. Compared with the $29.99 cost of downloading Lion from the Mac App Store, the $69 cost of the USB thumb drive option is steep indeed, especially given the low cost of 4GB drives. Wired.co.uk reports that in the UK, the thumb drive option will cost £55, versus the £20.99 cost of downloading the update.

There is one further option available, though: if you’re able to get to an Apple Store, the company has issued an open invitation to customers to download the update in its retail stores. You won’t need to wait until August either – you can get down to your local Apple Store and start downloading today.

While the majority of Mac users will opt for the simplicity and low cost of the App Store download, it’s at least good to know that there are other options available to feed your need for some Lion action if the download thing just isn’t happening for you.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Yahoo may buy Hulu for $2 billion, but with conditions

Next Story

Microsoft begins rolling out Bing with Live Tiles

35 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

For people without the internet, you won't be reading this article anyway, but I'd just like to say LOL

It is a good idea though, however paying £30 for a 4-5GB fish is quite a lot of money (thats iirc about the osx lion size)

Waitwaitwait. It costs $29.99 in the US, and £20.99 in the UK?

... The UK's not getting ripped off that badly on exchange rates for once?

$39 extra for the cost of a USB Flash Drive, Postage & Handling. The price is clearly excessive and if it were eBay it would be against the rules (But it is not eBay, Apple do whatever they like).

It seems to me that Apple are actually trying to *punish* customers that are *unable* to get broadband connections (it is very rare to find someone who doesn't have broadband by choice), who may be in regional or remote areas (where there is no broadband).

Also there are customers that are unable to get fixed line services and rely on Wireless Broadband (3G/LTE) with small download allowances - and high excess usage fees (because even the basic plans are so expensive) or simply pay by the megabyte to begin with.

Realistically it is going to hurt Apple because a customer in such a position would probably be more likely to pirate a copy (get a friend to burn a disk for them under the friends account) out of principal than to pay the exorbitant premium for the USB Flash Drive version.

How dare a customer not have a broadband connection in this day and age!

Simon- said,
$39 extra for the cost of a USB Flash Drive, Postage & Handling. The price is clearly excessive and if it were eBay it would be against the rules (But it is not eBay, Apple do whatever they like).

It seems to me that Apple are actually trying to *punish* customers that are *unable* to get broadband connections (it is very rare to find someone who doesn't have broadband by choice), who may be in regional or remote areas (where there is no broadband).

Also there are customers that are unable to get fixed line services and rely on Wireless Broadband (3G/LTE) with small download allowances - and high excess usage fees (because even the basic plans are so expensive) or simply pay by the megabyte to begin with.

Realistically it is going to hurt Apple because a customer in such a position would probably be more likely to pirate a copy (get a friend to burn a disk for them under the friends account) out of principal than to pay the exorbitant premium for the USB Flash Drive version.

How dare a customer not have a broadband connection in this day and age!

It is against eBay rules for selling something at a price you want to? o_0

You can burn the DMG file to a DVD as well, don't have to restore it to a Flash drive. However, I've tested both methods and install from a Flash drive is a LOT faster than DVD.

jakkyl said,
You can burn the DMG file to a DVD as well, don't have to restore it to a Flash drive. However, I've tested both methods and install from a Flash drive is a LOT faster than DVD.

And a hard drive partition (or any sort of SSD) is faster than either. It need not be a large hard drive, either - a mere 40 GB SATA HDD can be split four ways to create four equal-sized partitions.

PGHammer said,

And a hard drive partition (or any sort of SSD) is faster than either. It need not be a large hard drive, either - a mere 40 GB SATA HDD can be split four ways to create four equal-sized partitions.

Mind you, a platter drive gets considerably slower when it's reading and writing to itself at the same time

deundead said,
So around $39 extra for a 4gb flash drive with the Apple logo? No thank you.

What's wrong with you! The Apple logo is invaluable!

deundead said,
So around $39 extra for a 4gb flash drive with the Apple logo? No thank you.

Actually, it is most likely an 8GB flash drive. While the DMG image itself will fit on a 4GB drive, if you actually restore it to the drive to make it bootable, it is slightly bigger than will fit on a 4GB drive, since the DMG is compressed.

Raa said,
So no DVD option available this time?

Progress. The USB drive should be cheeper though... it should be more like $40 at most, IMO.

Raa said,
So no DVD option available this time?
There is no official DVD option because Apple don't want to contradict themselves; the new Mac Mini lacks an optical drive, like the Macbook Air before it (because "these days, you don't need one"). Expect to see it disappear from Apple's other models when they get their next hardware refreshes.

Arkose said,
There is no official DVD option because Apple don't want to contradict themselves; the new Mac Mini lacks an optical drive, like the Macbook Air before it (because "these days, you don't need one"). Expect to see it disappear from Apple's other models when they get their next hardware refreshes.

You wouldn't want to install it from a DVD anyway - the experience (slowness due to heaps of seeking - install routine probably assumes something with fast random read and write) resulted in it taking almost a hour on a top of the line iMac 2011 model. It is good they've moved away from physical media IMHO.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

You wouldn't want to install it from a DVD anyway - the experience (slowness due to heaps of seeking - install routine probably assumes something with fast random read and write) resulted in it taking almost a hour on a top of the line iMac 2011 model. It is good they've moved away from physical media IMHO.

Good for them maybe, but not for us. We just lost an option there. Jobs wants to kill optical formats (and all of our software collection on CDs and DVDs) so he can push as many people as possible through his app store. In no way is that good for us.

kingius said,
Good for them maybe, but not for us. We just lost an option there. Jobs wants to kill optical formats (and all of our software collection on CDs and DVDs) so he can push as many people as possible through his app store. In no way is that good for us.
Speak for yourself, I for one will be happy when Optical Media dies off. Apart from console video games, I haven't used Optical media in years.

kingius said,

Good for them maybe, but not for us. We just lost an option there. Jobs wants to kill optical formats (and all of our software collection on CDs and DVDs) so he can push as many people as possible through his app store. In no way is that good for us.

Stop being a dishonest individual - there is nothing stopping you from burning the dmg to a DVD if you so wished (which is how I installed Lion on my two computers). If you've got an issue with Mac OS X how about complaining about real problems rather than making stuff up to justify your hatred of Apple products.

Is there any plan for a Family pack? Or does the $30 option restrict you to installing the update on one machine?

Buy it once and you can install it all the machine you have though the AppStore.

I think there may be a limit of 5 machines you can tie your Apple AppStore account to, but I'm not sure.

virtorio said,
Buy it once and you can install it all the machine you have though the AppStore.

I think there may be a limit of 5 machines you can tie your Apple AppStore account to, but I'm not sure.

I believe the App Store is still subject to the five computer authorization limit. However, the Lion Installer file you download contains a .dmg file that you can put on a flash drive, DVD, etc to get around redownloading.

kuskoak said,
Is there any plan for a Family pack? Or does the $30 option restrict you to installing the update on one machine?

There is no restrictions or controls on the Mac OS X being sold in the AppStore - according to the license you can install it on as many computers you own. Apple dont see Mac OS X as a cash cow but merely a means to an end - namely to sell hardware.

Jared- said,
Think you've missed the point of the article.

Yeah didn't think of the people without decent internet connections. Though that may just be a limited number of people.

Jared- said,

Think you've missed the point of the article.

The option is primarily for those with weak/wimpy connections that either have USB drives or want the convenience of a premade USB *boot disk*(hence the hie-thyself-to-the-Apple-Store option). Besides, there are lots of Macs and MacBookAirs (or even generic MacBooks) at any Apple Store - they would certainly have faster Internet connections than a Starbucks.

SojIrOu said,

Yeah didn't think of the people without decent internet connections. Though that may just be a limited number of people.


Just the rest of the world...

sanctified said,

Just the rest of the world...

More like the United States. We are way behind the curve in connection, and now many now have caps as well.