Apple released the gold master of its PC operating system, Mac OS X Lion earlier this month, while also ramping up production of the new Macbook Air, a sign that a combination could be in store soon.

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, inventories of current Macbooks are already slimming, and new systems should ship with the new software.

Current MacBooks from Apple are powered by Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), which was released in June 2009.

The new OS X Lion represents a quantum leap forward in terms of OS advancement.

This means there is a pending MacBook Air refresh, and that would be coupled with the new operating system. He believes this could happen within a matter of weeks.

Apple has also said that it will ship Lion this month, though it did not give a concrete date.

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

Apple enthusiast website 9to5Mac pegged the release date to be on the 14th, putting it in line with Apple traditions.

The bundle is anchored on the fact that both Lion and the new Macbook Air have been marketed together by Apple.

The Cupertino Calif-based company introduced the new operating system on June 6 at its annual World Wide Developer Conference.

Apple's VP of Product Marketing Phil Schiller explained that there was 250 new features in the software, including some features pulled from innovations from adapted from the iPhone and the iPad.

In addition to the new touchpad capabilities and the apps and services that can run in full screen mode, there is a revamped Mission Control, the service that allows users to see all the applications that are running on their desktop at a given time.

Lion includes a simpler way to find applications. With a pinch gesture on the trackpad, all the applications show up on the screen.

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.

The new software will be available in July, with industry journals predicting the 14. Apple has said upgrades will be $29.99


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