Speculations around Mac OS X 10.7 Lion's release date have overflown and then ebbed.

July 14, the date which most tech sites predicted as Lion's release date, came and went with no one hearing Lion's roar.

Apple did not comment on the buzz around its newest operating system, only mentioning a July release. Now that half of July is gone, there aren't so many days in the lot. Apple-watching sites have renewed their predictions to sometime next week (there are only two weeks left, anyway) and some have specified the release date as either July 19 or July 22.

Considering Apple's tradition (or mere coincidence) of releasing its Mac OS X updates on Fridays, it would seem safer to wait for the roar on July 22.

Earlier OS X releases:

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

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

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

--OS 10.3, Panther: Friday, October 24, 2003.

OS X Lion is expected to be accompanied by some stunning new laptops, and the rumors around them make July 22 release more probable.

Four new MacBook Airs, two with 11-inch screens and two with 13-inch screens, are in the works, according to 9to5Mac. The new MacBook Airs are rumored to feature Sandy Bridge processors, new high-speed Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards, and memory configuration of 128GB or 256GB, says PCMag. The new machines will be announced sometime this week, according to a source from AllThingsD. And of course, the updated MacBook Airs will be the first computer equipped with the brand-new software.

The combination of a new MacBook Air and Mac OS X Lion bundle is anchored on the fact that both Lion and the new Macbook Air have been marketed together by Apple.

An upgraded white MacBook, three new Mac minis as well as four new Mac Pros are also speculated to debut soon.

Those of us who are tired of hearing the speculations and rumors may as well stay best prepared for the release, whichever day Apple chooses to land it.

Apple has provided in a list of pre-requisites to run the OS. The primary requirement to run Mac OS X is that the system is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor. Also the Mac OS X Lion will not be offered on a disk but can be downloaded from the Mac App Store, which would necessitate having the latest version of OS X Snow Leopard.

The download will be $29.99 to upgrade from Mac OS X 10.6 to 10.7, at around 4GB in size. According to Apple, buyers are welcome to download the upgrade in any of its retail stores.

Besides supporting Apple's new iCloud services, the Mac OS X Lion sports more than 250 new features and 3,000 new developer APIs.

Below is IBTimes' take on top 10 exciting features of Lion that make it a better choice for you.

Automatic Restoration

Mac OS X Lion Gold Master allows you to resume your application exactly as you left it. After quitting or shutting down the system when you come back again, you will find all the open windows, platters, panes, apps and even the cursor position and highlighted text as they were when you left. Mac OS X Lion merely pauses your system, and everything comes back when you restart the computer.

Reboot into Safari

This is a feature that turns your system into an internet kiosk. The Reboot into Safari can be found on the user lock screen. It allows unauthorized users to use the Mac only to browse the Web. In this mode, only a Safari window will appear and nothing else. When an unauthorized user browses web, the Safari browser will not show any of the bookmarks on the Mac.

Auto save

Mac OS X Lion Gold Master brings a complete auto save feature that keeps your data secure and version tracked. It automatically saves changes to your document. Auto Save in Lion adds the changes directly into the file so there's only one copy of the document on your Mac.

You can also easily lock a document at any time to avoid unintentional changes. Lion automatically locks the document two weeks after the last edit. When you try to make a change, it alerts you and asks if you want to unlock or duplicate the file.

AirDrop

AirDrop, a peer to peer Wi-Fi protocol between participating Mac computers, allows you to securely share your documents with others. To share a file you have to simply drag it onto a person's contact photo. After verifying that you want to send the file, it sends a request to the recipient. When the recipient accepts the request, the file gets transferred to the person's Downloads folder.

AirDrop creates a firewall between you and the person you are sharing a file with, a feature that prevents anyone from accessing your computer over that connection. It doesn't require any special settings.

Multi-touch Gesture

Mac OS X Lion Gold Master has multi touch technology that allows you to swipe through files and web pages quickly using your Multi-Touch trackpad or Magic Mouse. Thanks to fluid animations, the gestures have become more responsive. Mac OS X Lion also comprises new animations like rubber-band scrolling, zooming, and swiping.

Mission Control

Mission Control feature allows you to arrange your open windows, full-screen apps, spaces, and Dashboard. While a row of thumbnails across the top of the screen signifies Dashboard, desktop spaces, and full-screen apps, you can see an exposed view of the open windows on the lower part of the screen.

Now, you can add and remove desktop spaces right from Mission Control. You can also attach an application to a particular space or make it available in all spaces right from the Dock.

LaunchPad

LaunchPad makes it easier for you to access your installed apps. While the new apps downloaded from the app store will be added directly to LaunchPad, the user can also create a folder on LaunchPad to organize the installed apps. Each folder can hold as many as 32 apps. It creates full-screen pages to house your apps and adds new pages as you add more apps. You can easily move between Launchpad pages with a three-finger swipe.

iCal

The new look of iCal provides more room to browse and edit your events. The calendars list reveals itself only when you click Calendars. You can now easily add an event to iCal by simply entering a regular-language phrase and iCal will add the event.

FileVault 2

FileVault 2 makes it easier for you to secure data on your Mac by encrypting the entire drive. It encrypts and decrypts your data on the fly. It's also designed to bow out processor cycles to higher-priority user tasks like copying files or browsing. FileVault 2 uses XTS-AES 128 encryption to secure the data on your Mac.

Internet Restore and Utilities

A built-in restore partition allows the user to repair or reinstall Mac OS X Lion without the need for discs. It can be reinstalled on the system from recovery mode through a Time Machine backup.

Must Read: Mac OS X Lion and MacBook Air Will Release Today?

See Also: Apple Employee Confirms Mac OS X Release, Macbook Air Specs