Apple has updated the packaging on several Macs after the debut of OS X Lion, according to MacTrast. The site's managing editor compared a Lion-running MacBook Pro and a Snow Leopard-running model he purchased earlier this year; other than the new machine running Lion, the two Macs had identical specs.
The most obvious change to the packaging is that rather than featuring Snow Leopard's aurora desktop background, images have been updated with the Andromeda Galaxy wallpaper that comes standard with OS X Lion. It turns out that part numbers and SKUs differ from the pre-Lion MacBook Pro as well, with the updated numbers likely reflecting the changes in OS, keyboard differences, and included supplemental material.
MacTrast also found that the build number of OS X Lion preinstalled on the MacBook Pro differs slightly from the version downloaded from the Mac App Store -- 10A511a rather than 10A511. The new machines also have the keyboard changes that were initially discovered a few days ago.
The biggest change? New Macs are shipping without restore media of any kind. Before Lion, Macs shipped with two packages: "Everything Mac," and "Everything Else." These two packages included all the hardware-specific restore discs (including Snow Leopard and iLife), warranty information, Apple stickers, and the tiny pamphlet that gives users the bare-bones info they need to get started on their Mac. Those restore discs are nowhere to be found in post-Lion Macs.
This turns out to be problematic, as according to MacTrast's investigations these newly-shipping Macs don't have the ability to restore Lion to a bare hard drive over the internet. Installing a blank hard disk in the new MacBook Pro showed the dreaded flashing question mark folder with no options for Internet Restore, and without any restore media it was impossible to get Lion running on the new drive.
We've covered a couple methods for creating your own Lion recovery disk here at TUAW, so there are workarounds for this issue. MacTrast ran into a problem attempting to download the Lion installer from the Mac App Store, but even if the Store is telling you the software is already installed, you should be able to download it anyway by holding down the Option key and clicking "Installed." From there, it's a matter of following online instructions (either here or elsewhere) to create a functional install disc of your own.