Don't want to download "Lion"? Try Apple's $69 USB installation driveIn a first for Apple, the latest version of Mac OS X is available primarily as a download—a hefty 4 GB download, mind you, meaning those with poky Internet connections might be in for a long wait.

Now there’s an alternative for Mac users who’d rather install Mac OS X “Lion” using good old-fashioned physical media: a USB thumb drive, which Apple will deliver straight to your doorstep. It’ll cost you, though.

Available now on Apple’s web site and slated to arrive soon in brick-and-mortar Apple stores (so says 9 to 5 Mac), the new Lion installation drive plugs into your Mac’s USB port, no downloading required. Just attach the drive, launch the Lion installer, and you’re in business.

The USB drive doubles as a Lion recovery disk, notes 9 to 5 Mac, meaning you can use the thumb drive to revive (or try to revive, at least) a sick Mac.

The catch? Apple is charging $69 for the Lion USB installation drive—a steep $40 premium over the $29 price tag for Lion on the Mac App Store. Yikes.

LINK: Mac OS X Lion USB installation drive

Need help with Lion? Visit the Mac OS X “Lion” Survival Guide for tips and how-tos.