Apple has finally made the OS X Lion operating system available on a USB drive for users who prefer to purchase Lion outside of the Mac App Store. The USB drive is available online in the Apple Store in all countries and will be available in retail stores in the coming weeks.
OS X Lion is available as an upgrade in the Mac App Store for $30, but only to users of OS X Snow Leopard. You can make a USB drive from the Mac App Store download, but users who need a full install of OS X Lion in order to upgrade from Leopard will appreciate the USB drive which retails for $69.
For the average user, this is probably the easiest way to upgrade to OS X Lion with a clean install. While you do not need to perform a clean install, some users have reported better performance with a clean install as it gives your machine a fresh start.
The OS X Lion USB Drive will allow you to install OS X Lion on any compatible Mac, even if you put a new hard drive in or don’t have the latest OS.
If you install OS X Lion with the USB drive you will note be able to reinstall through OS X Lion recovery like users who install from the Mac App Store. This means you will need to keep your USB drive handy if you need to do a reinstall.
OS X Lion brings a number of system improvements to your Mac including much improved multitouch gestures, LaunchPad, Mission Control, a new Mail client and full screen apps as well as 250 additional features.
Based on my experience with OS X Lion, I would recommend the upgrade to all users who have a compatible machine, unless you need PowerPC app support.