The ides of July are almost upon us. And that can mean only thing: the arrival of OS X Lion with the refreshed MacBook Air in tow. At least, that's what two Apple enthusiast sites are reporting.
9to5Mac says that a "few overseas sources" tell them that "Apple Retail stores are planning 'overnights' on July 13th." Overnights typically entail a refresh of Apple store displays and training on new products.
And AppleInsider is hearing similar chatter, citing a "bulletin" posted to Apple's internal retail news network "advising store management to perform RAM upgrades to certain Mac models on the showroom floors by Sunday, July 10th at the latest." The deduction: this is needed to ready those models for upgrades to Lion.
Apple is already on the record with statements about a July release. At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the company announced that it would be releasing Lion as a $29.99 update to users in July. The OS has already reached gold master status, according to reports.
OS X Lion will bring plenty of enhancements and tweaks, including iCloud services built into the software, iOS-style Launchpad to house apps, full-screen apps and previewing Preview PDFs full-screen, Mission Control that comes up with a three-finger swipe, automatic tracking of document version history, and a resume feature that picks up where the user left off, among other new features.
And the new MacBook Air will be the perfect platform to utilize some of these iOS-like features. Weighing a scant 2.3 pounds (11.6-inch model), it is expected to pack fast Intel Sandy Bridge Core i series processors for the first time and a Thunderbolt port--both features already present on its 13-inch MacBook Pro cousin.
A CNET report last month, citing a research note from Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore, said that supplier checks suggest the production of the new Air could "ramp to as high as 1.5 [million] units per [quarter] or 50 percent of the MacBook business." That would be a significant milestone since it would point to the future of Apple's laptop development focus: small, light designs with iPad-like characteristics.
Whitmore also said that OS X Lion will "spur a large part of the 54 [million] Mac installed base to upgrade."