As expected, Apple has begun sales of its OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive, offering a download-free way to install the new platform. Currently on sale through the UK Apple store - though not, at time of writing, on the US store - for £55, it's a more expensive option for those without the bandwidth to grab Lion from the Mac App Store.
A bigger price tag isn't the only drawback to using the thumb drive option, however. According to Apple's warning, "When you install OS X Lion using the USB thumb drive, you will not be able to reinstall OS X Lion from Lion Recovery. You will need to use the USB thumb drive to reinstall OS X Lion." That seemingly means no access to the clever online recovery system which Lion users who downloaded the OS can take advantage of to boot their broken Macs from a working copy on Apple's own servers.
Still, if your bandwidth is metered or you feel Apple deserves more than $29.99 for all that big-cat goodness, the USB drive is now an option. We're guessing it'll show up in the US Apple Store later today, as well as being available in brick & mortar Apple retail locations, though it's worth remembering that you can take your Mac into those stores and use their connection instead.