Today, newly-introduced Macs namely Mac minis and MacBook Airs have been equipped with a new feature called “Internet Recovery” that downloads and installs OS X Lion even if your Mac has a failed or blank hard drive.
Much of the concern around Lion being download-only was how to do a clean install after a hard drive replacement, for example. For new Macs, it sounds like it will be very simple.
Lion Internet Recovery lets you start your Mac directly from Apple’s Servers. The system runs a quick test of your memory and hard drive to make sure there are no hardware issues.
Lion Internet Recovery presents a limited interface at first, with just the ability to select your preferred Wi-Fi network and, if needed, enter the WPA passphrase. Next, Lion Internet Recovery will download and start from a Recovery HD image. From there, you are presented all the same utilities and functions.
This new Internet Recovery then passes off to the standard Lion Recovery mode that is available to all OS X Lion installed Macs.