Mac owners will reportedly be able to remotely purchase the upgrade to Lion via the Mac App Store.  (Source: Apple Insider)
Apple's thriving App Store may receive its most important package yet

From games to business, Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) Mac App Store follows in the footsteps of such Windows PC software markets as Valve Corp.'s STEAM engine (now available on Macs), making the push to digital distribution.  Despite an initial catalog of 1,000 apps and one million downloads in its first day of activity, the new App Store reportedly has seen slow sales [source] since its launch in January 2011.

Still, Apple is determined to see the new distribution format through to success.  According to a report by Apple Insider, it's prepared to show that commitment by making the Mac App Store the primary source of Mac OS X "Lion" 10.7 OS upgrade, set to launch this summer.

A source close to Apple says that the company will also be offering traditional optical media upgrades "for those with slower connections, or [for those who for whatever reason do] not want to download it."

The move to digital distribution will be a boon for the MacBook Air, which lacks a built in optical disk drive.  

Apple reportedly looks to gut the optical drive from the remaining members of its lineup including the MacBook Pro and MacBook within the next year to two years.  The removal will allow for slimmer designs and a larger battery.

Apple is also working to phase out the boxed software section of its stores, making room for more lucrative Mac accessories and repairs/service sections.  The company is reportedly contemplating a complete removal of boxed software from its store shelves in the near future.

The upcoming "Lion" OS is currently in beta.  It offers many new features that bring OS X more in line with iOS -- the mobile operating system used in Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPods.  In that regard this release is expected to be more pivotal than the standard short-cycle OS bump from Apple.

Snow Leopard and the Mac App Store both require an Intel-based processor, 1GB of system RAM, and 5GB of available disk space.  The original Intel Mac systems won't be upgradeable to Lion, though -- it requires a Core 2 Duo processor or better.

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