Apple users kept their eyes and ears close to tech-media as rumors speculated that the new Mac OS X Lion would be released, but an Apple employee points to a different date.

Speaking on the basis of anonymity, the source told IBTimes that the new software is most likely to come late next week, saying it was ready to go so far as they could tell.

The source also said Apple's ultrathin notebook computer, will employ Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processor. The low-voltage chip is inline with the Macbook Air's predecessor, and the chip's ability to process graphics cuts the need for other chips, enhancing battery life.

The notebook computer should have the new operating system on it.

It doesn't make sense to release hardware without the software, the source said, wishing to remain nameless 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 bon-a-fide release within two weeks.

While many enthusiast Web sites have speculated the release to come on the 14th, it is most likely to come late next week, the source explained.

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.