Apple customers have been awaiting the most recent update of Apple's Mac OS X Lion, the next-iteration of the software that powers Mac computers, and sources say it could come within days.

Enthusiast sites have spewed multiple dates as to when the new Mac OS X Lion software will be released, with Apple thus far only saying it would come in July.

But speaking on the basis of anonymity, an Apple employee told IBTimes that the new software is most likely to come late next week, saying from what they've seen, it was ready to go. By next week, the source was pointing towards the week of the 17th.

While the source refused to give a solid date, he did point to historical evidence seems to back this up.

Apple has rolled out the previous upgrades of its computer operating system on Fridays, typically towards the end of the month as well:

--OS 10.4, Tiger: Friday, April 29, 2005

--OS 10.5, Leopard: Friday, October 26, 2007

--OS 10.6, Snow Leopard: Friday August 28, 2009

He also told IBTimes that Apple's next generation Macbook Air, the ultrathin notebook computer, will employ Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processor and accompanying technology.

While widely expected by industry analysts, the confirmation puts to rest speculation Apple was going to run with other vendors, including reports that surfaced in May suggesting a move to UK's ARM technology.

The low-voltage chip follows the technology trajectory laid out by the current Macbook Air's, and the chip's added ability to process graphics cuts the need for other chips, enhancing battery life.

Also in line with expectations, Apple will package the new notebook computer with Mac OS X Lion, the company's next generation operating system introduced earlier this year.

The move was widely expected as both products are set to be released at roughly the same times.

It doesn't make sense to release hardware without the software, the source said, wishing to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

The information corroborates supply-chain checks from Wall Street analysts and Apple's own corporate moves earlier this year.

Apple released the gold master of its operating system, Mac OS X Lion earlier this month, while also ramping up production of the new Macbook Air.

A gold master is computer parlance that indicates that no more changes will be made to the software, and that finished copy will enter of phases of production -- like licensing, documentation, and other post coding processes.

At the same time, Apple's MacBook Air, the ultramobile portable, is due for a refresh that industry analysts have already pegged for July.

Indeed, checks with retailers show that inventories of current Macbooks are already slimming, and new systems should ship with the new software. Companies like BestBuy, for instance, have stopped shipping the current MacBook Air altogether.

Historically the company has moved form a gold master to a bona fide release within two weeks.

The software is not just a welcome development for users. Analysts are expecting the new software to boost Apple's margins as well.

BMO Capital's Keith Bachman projects Apple's gross profit margin will grow by 1 percentage point, leading to an incremental 40 cents per share in profit in the September-ending fiscal fourth quarter.

While the Mac Book Air prices has yet to be determined, Apple has said Mac OS X Lion upgrades will be $29.99.

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