The shipping version of Apple's Mac OS X Lion is said to be at Apple's stores, and ready to be deployed on showroom floor computers the same day it's released to the public, according to reports.
Macrumors today said a hard drive with the new OS ready to be installed has been delivered to Apple's retail stores. Separately, a report on 9to5mac claimed AppleCare support staff are receiving training for the new OS, as well as having the same final version installed on their own machines.
Neither report provides a release date for the $29.99 software, which Apple said would be released sometime in July. A post on AppleInsider this morning said the software will hit the Mac App Store on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET., the day after Apple posts its fiscal third-quarter earnings.
As Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, the Mac App Store will be the only way to upgrade to the software, short of buying a Mac with it pre-installed. The software is the first version of the Mac OS, in a long chain of software releases, to skip being offered on an optical disc. Last month Computerworld reported that Apple would be allowing users to come into its retail stores and use the free Wi-Fi if they are worried about grabbing the 4GB download on slow or metered connections.
Apple says Lion packs in "over 250 new features." The OS first made its debut at an event dubbed "Back to the Mac" in October, where the company also launched its second-generation MacBook Air and iLife '11 software. Among the headlining features are support for full-screen applications, more multitouch gestures, system resume, auto save for app data, AirDrop file transfer, and a feature called "Launchpad" that mimics the icon-based app launcher in iOS.
Apple released a gold master version of the software to developers on July 1. That's typically the same build users get when the software is released.