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OS X Lion release date set for Thursday: report

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(Read caption) OS X Lion should be roaring onto computer screens sometime soon. Maybe even by tomorrow.

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Well, it'll get here sooner or later. Probably. Maybe. Yesterday, 9 to 5 Mac reported that OS X Lion, the latest operating system release from Apple, would likely be made available by July 14. July 14 is today, and OS X Lion has not yet arrived. But hang tight! Today, July 14, the tech site M.I.C. Gadget has reported that OS X Lion will actually ship tomorrow.

"How are we here at M.I.C. Gadget so sure of this?" asks M.I.C.'s Steve Lo. "First of all at the flagship store in Pudong and the other Apple stores in China, our contacts indicate that they will be having an overnight setup for the visuals team. For those not familiar, the visuals team is the team most responsible for setting up how the Apple store looks. Our contacts have explained to us that an overnight shift means something major is coming out the next day."

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Apple, of course, is usually a stellar manager of product launches. Witness the annual unveiling of the iPhone, and now the annual iPad relaunch, and maybe the upcoming iPod Touch 3G. If it exists! By comparison, the Lion launch has been a little muddy, and that has Matt Peckham of Time all riled up.

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"Is anyone else annoyed with Apple's last-minute-release, no-dating-game for OS X Lion?" Peckham writes. "It's almost like they're updating an iPhone app instead of trotting out the eighth major iteration of their flagship operating system. Those 250 new or changed features apparently don't warrant any pre-game ballyhoo, just a 'surprise, here they are!' whether you're ready or not."

First unveiled way back in October of 2010, OS X Lion is the eighth major OS X release. Here's a rundown of the features expected to ship with Lion, but we'll give you the CliffsNotes: You can expect FaceTime functionality, along with some full-screen apps, along with something called AirDrop, which will let users wireless transfer files over Wi-Fi, from one Lion-enabled computer to another.

Lion is expected to be made available as a $30 download from the Apple App Store; the full server version of Lion will go for $50.