updated 02:10 am EDT, Thu August 11, 2011
Some customers qualify for free units
Users are starting to receive their ordered Lion Recovery USB sticks, 9to5Mac reports. Apple, which bowed to customer requests for a physical item from which they could install Lion, sells the Lion Recovery USB stick for $69 retail but is also offering it free of charge to customers whose machines shipped with Lion pre-installed but did not come with any recovery media -- notably certain MacBook Air and MacBook Pro customers.
AppleCare representatives can now authorize sending the Lion Recovery USB sticks to customers for whom the built-in Lion Recovery tools -- automatically installed by Lion in a hidden 650MB partition on a user's boot drive -- are not an option, such as when a hard drive fails before Time Machine backup can be completed. Since the initial announcement of the Lion USB option, Apple has since posted a downloadable version of the basic recovery tools which all Lion customers can use to create bootable "emergency tools" volumes out of external drives or even their own (4GB or larger) USB thumb drives.
The Recovery Tools as posted by Apple or found on the hidden partition on boot drives do not contain a full install of Lion, relying on an internet connection to download the full system restore from the Mac App Store. [via 9to5Mac]