The low price is the same as Apple charged for Snow Leopard, the current version, but Apple had charged $129 for most previous major releases of Mac OS X. The big difference this time is it will be sold through the Mac App Store as a 4GB download, rather than on a disc.
The distribution method raises a few questions. How will users who never upgraded to Snow Leopard, and therefore don't have access to the Mac App Store, download the new operating system? What about people with slow Internet connections? Will there be a convenient way to create bootable USB drives or discs for people who prefer a physical copy of their OS?
For businesses that deploy Macs, there is another issue. Typically, users purchase software through the App Store with their personal credit cards. One of our own IT guys at IDG is wondering how businesses that buy in bulk for employees will handle the purchase process.
The latest developer preview of Lion, which is Mac OS X version 10.7, is out today and will be generally available to consumers in July. Another major change this time around is that Apple is making Lion Server a part of the desktop operating system, potentially bringing server capabilities to the masses.
While Apple says "Lion Server is now part of Mac OS X Lion," it's still possible that the server capabilities will cost extra. Some reports have the Lion Server OS being priced as a $49.99 add-on. In any case, it certainly won't cost $500, as the Snow Leopard Server does.