Apple is rumored to be releasing its next-generation operating system -- Mac OS X Lion -- and the upgraded MacBook Air this Wednesday, July 20.

Speculations over the new MacBook Air and Mac OS X Lion software hit new heights last week as it was rumored that the Mac OS X Lion would emerge from the Cupertino den on July 14. But it did not.

News sites have been saying that the next generation OS will be launched this week, to go with the newest Mac Airs and Mac Minis. Of course, this is mostly speculation at this point; the only thing certain is that Apple doesn't have a set time for the Lion release aside from this month.

AppleInsider says they have received word that the products would be released on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. EST.

According to Macrumors, a hard drive with the new OS ready to be installed has been delivered to Apple's retail stores.

Meanwhile, 9to5Mac reported confirmation from several Apple retail employees that Apple Retail stores are planning overnights on July 19th. Generally, overnights are held before new products are released to train members of each store to reorganize product displays and window signage at night, and perform any necessary tasks to facilitate a particular product launch.

According to OSXDaily, the new MacBook Air is already in the Apple's retail stores in sealed boxes, waiting for the Lion to be unleashed.

The new MacBook Air is said to feature new Sandy Bridge processors along with an I/O connector technology ThunderBolt connector to accompany the new operating system.

The current generations of MacBook Airs are powered by Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), which was released in June 2009, and the OS X Lion represents a quantum leap forward in terms of OS advancement.

Apple claims Mac OS X Lion as claims as the world's most advanced desktop operating system.

The new operating system will have 250 new features, according to Apple. There are new multi-touch gestures that make the Mac a lot like the iPhone or iPad, including momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a Web page or image. It's likely that the new features will be available on the new MacBook Airs.

Another new feature on Mac OS X Lion will be Launchpad, which will allow users to see all of their Mac apps in a full-screen layout. Using the multi-touch gestures, users will be able to organize them in any order.