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Apple finally launches OS X Lion USB drive

The company is selling the drive for $69 on its Web site, which is much higher than the digital copy of the OS upgrade retailing for $29.

Apple's OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive.
Apple's OS X Lion USB thumb drive.

Apple has released its Mac OS X Lion USB thumb drive.

The drive, which is available now on Apple's Web site, retails for $69. People who buy the drive can simply pop it into their computers and upgrade to Mac OS X Lion without the need for a Web connection.

Apple announced its USB thumb drive last month. The company said it would be the right choice for customers who don't have a broadband connection in the home. But it also signals Apple's future plans.

Related stories:
• Get OS X lion sans download...on a $69 stick
• Mac OS X Lion pounces
• How to create an OS X Lion installation disc

With the launch of Lion, Apple has made it clear that it wants to kill off the disc drive. The operating system, which boasts over 250 new features, including support for full-screen applications and a launchpad option to give people access to all programs on the Mac, was made available last month in the Mac App Store as a digital download for $29. For the first time, Apple did not offer an installation disc for customers to buy. And by offering a USB drive instead, it's apparent that Apple won't.

However, some intrepid Mac users have taken matters into their own hands. Thanks to a guide from CNET, some people have decided to create their own OS X Lion installation discs by engaging in a quick process of burning the operating system's contents to a DVD.

If customers instead decide to buy Apple's thumb drive, it will ship in one to three business days.