Mac OS X Lion Anticipation Runs High as Apple Preps for Earnings Call

As Apple’s latest Mac OS X Lion has been rumored for release by July, no specific dates were given. It was then reported that the release date was July 14th,, which then became July 15th, resulting in no updates over the weekend. The new rumored day of release is now expected to be tomorrow or Thursday, together with the new Thunderbolt-ready MacBook Airs and Mac Mini, which has been reportedly to be release on July 21st.

OS X Lion will be a digital-only release, which means that you will either have to download it, or you will buy a new computer already running it. Lion is expected to be made available as $29.99 download exclusively from Apple App Store. Lion requires at least 2GB of RAM and an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor, which means it is compatible with Apple computers except Mac Minis from late 2006 onwards.

The MacBook Air is expected to come with a 128GB solid-state drive and 4GB RAM, though  it’s still unclear if the MacBook Air will have a Mac OS X Lion pre-installed.  There may even be a new Thunderbolt-equipped LED Cinema Display in the mix, and backlit keyboards.

With the anticipation over its new product releases, NPD expects near record of Mac sales over Apple’s Q3 earnings.  Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster noted that Mac sales were up by 12 percent year-over-year for every month in the quarter.

In the third fiscal quarter of 2010, Apple sold 3.47 million Macs which, at the time, was a 33 percent sales increase year-over-year.  A 12 percent increase from this would be just under 3.88 million Macs. A 12 percent increase from would be just under 3.88 Macs, which would almost meet the company’s current record of 4.1 million during the first fiscal quarter of 2011.

Despite these record-breaking figures, quarterly growth has apparently slowed down, which Munster credits to anticipation about new products.

 “We believe consumer anticipation of the new Mac operating system, Lion, announced on June 6 to ship in July, and new MacBook Airs (estimated 16 percent of Mac units in the June quarter) likely shipping in July negatively impacted June quarter Mac sales,” Munster wrote. “However, we expect these same factors to cause a reacceleration in Mac growth in the September quarter.

Apple, who is known for its conservative outlook, has forecast third quarter earnings of $5.03 per share on revenues of about $23 billion. On average, 51 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to have earned $5.80 per share in the quarter on revenues of $24.92 billion. Analysts’ estimates typically excluded special products.