Early reports: Yes, it’s true that Mac OS X 10.7, a.k.a. Lion, will be sold only through the Apple store as a download. No discs, no boxes.
So what does this mean if you run a business or school?
Well the good news is, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Once you download a copy of Lion, you’ll be able to burn it to disc, save it to a flash drive, deploy with Apple Remote Desktop, even create an image with NetRestore or, presumably, DeployStudio. You’ll just have to download it that first time. And you just turn your discs into images now anyway… right? Apple is saving you a step.
There will still be no serial number to enter, and no physical limitations on installs. Legally, if you need to purchase Lion, it will be $29 per license for the general public, with very generous business licensing: $29 per license in quantities of 20 or more. No, I don’t know what the difference is, either…
Educational institutions will be able to purchase an “Apple Software Collections” of Lion, iLife and iWork for $39.