July 14: The Day Lion Doesn’t Ship

| Analysis

The rumor mill has been working overtime cranking out reports that OS X 10.7, or Lion, will ship on Thursday July 14. I’m going out on a limb and saying that Apple’s next OS isn’t shipping tomorrow, and that we’ll have to wait until next week before Lion hits the Mac App Store.

With so many reports claiming Lion will be available tomorrow, coupled with the unexpected downtime at Apple’s online App Store and the seemingly last minute maintenance at iTunes Connection (Apple’s portal where developers manage the apps they offer through the App Store), it sure looks like the stars have aligned for a Thursday Lion launch. Since Apple will be distributing Lion only as a download through its App Store, some pre-launch prep seems totally reasonable.

Lion tomorrow? Yeah, right.The big problem I see with a Thursday launch, however, is that Apple told developers it’s time to start submitting Lion-compatible versions of their apps for App Store approval only a couple of days ago. Since all of those updates need to go through Apple’s approval process before showing up on the Mac App Store, it doesn’t seem likely all — or even a substantial number — will be ready and available come Thursday.

Plenty of Mac apps need updates for Lion compatibility, so releasing the OS knowing that third party apps may break doesn’t sound like a good move for Apple. The backlash from customers once they realize the software they rely on no longer runs, regardless of whether or not it’s Apple’s fault, is the kind of publicity the companies try to avoid with new product launches, and I’d like to think Apple is no different in that regard.

That said, Apple did a fantastic job of attracting an amazing amount of bad publicity with its recent Final Cut Pro X launch. The release saw customer complaints about the redesigned interface, missing features, and the immediate lack of availability of Final Cut Pro 7 — the version that many pro video editing studios rely on daily and need since there isn’t any project migration path from FCP7 to FCPX.

Apple also seemed fine with the bad publicity it earned with iMovie updates, killing MobileMe Web hosting, dropping removable batteries from laptops. Translation: Apple isn’t afraid of negative press and moves forward with little compromise.

Apple doesn’t, however, have an unlimited number of man hours to handle the processing of every Lion compatibility update that’s likely being submitted for App Store approval before tomorrow.

Rumors are also saying more Mac hardware updates are coming soon, and could happen along side the Lion launch. That makes sense because Apple could ship the new Macs with Lion pre-installed, getting the new OS in the hands of more customers quicker. With the company’s third fiscal quarter earnings report is scheduled for next Tuesday, July 19, hardware upgrades would fit nicely as a post-earnings report announcement, possibly next Wednesday or Thursday.

Assuming Apple does release new Macs with Lion pre-installed post-earnings report, the timing would also fit nicely for a general Lion release and would also give the company more time to get those Lion-compatible app updates processed.

Of course, my public proclamation that Lion won’t be released tomorrow is probably the surest sign that it actually will considering there’s a high likelihood that Apple will push up the date just to spite me. If so, well, you’re welcome.


Todd K. Edwards

I believe we will not see Lion this week and mostly likely will see it next week on Tuesday July 19th. I feel this week is going to be time for Apple to prepare servers among other things to get ready for the big release.

Also, I’m curious to see how the Mac App store is going to hold up, when everyone is trying to download Lion at once!

Lee Dronick

Great graphic Jeff!

Jeff Gamet

Todd - I was originally thinking Tuesday, too, but changed my mind when I remembered the earnings report is that day. I don’t know if Apple would want to handle both at the same time. Of course, my crystal ball is finicky, so I all I can do is speculate.

And thanks for noticing the graphic, Sir Harry!

Lee Dronick

And thanks for noticing the graphic, Sir Harry!

It has heart.

D’oh! it isn’t the Cowardly Lion that needs a heart.


no, but Jeff needed LOTs of heart for making that prediction smilesmile

Lee Dronick

no, but Jeff needed LOTs of heart for making that prediction

And it courage

Lee Dronick

Ugh, if I had a brain I could comment with no problem when using the iPad.


Not to be outdone, expect Microsoft to code-name Windows 8 “Evillene” smile


You know what they say about opinions?! The calendar will prove when this is going to be released. All this is like pre-election polls, the only poll that matters is the election day; the same is true for Lion.

jim pace

I agree that Lion will be released next week. Maybe Tuesday. Why? just a feeling. New Hardware could be released tomorrow but Lion on its own would be next week.
Better chance though of just the Lion release date being officially revealed Thursday is more likely. With hardware and software available next week.

Jeffrey Hellman

Don’t know if they will post it tomorrow but Bastille Day, now that’s a good day to die ;>)

Remember that in the past we all upgraded our apps online direct from the developer so long as they were just compatibility updates and there is no reason to expect that won’t be the case for most this time as well. Just saying we could still see it drop tomorrow, at least I still have some hope.

Doug Hanley

So Jeff here’s to you being wrong or right. I am really surprised at the number of people chomping at the bit for something that won’t be totally usable until a) a dot version or two later and b) key applications are not quite ready.

Jeffrey Hellman

I’m used to working with software that still has a few kinks to be worked out. I can remember installing test systems from a stack of 20 floppy disks, running a few tests and then doing yet another clean install. Those were the days ;>)

I’m excited about Lion because it looks to be evolving more than it is iterating and I’m looking forward to seeing what that feels like. I almost paid the $99 to get the Beta a couple times but couldn’t justify it since we were so close to release. Not looking to good for Thursday at this point though there’s still a chance.


I too think I will wait for a couple of “dot releases before adventuring in to Lion.  I believe they will come out in fairly short order


Stars generally don’t align, planets do.


I’m not chomping at the bit for Lion to be released (although Mission Control will be nice), but I am chomping at the bit for Lion to be released so that the MacBook Air and MacBook (hopefully) will be refreshed at the same time and I can pick one up.  I’m like an impatient kid on Christmas Eve.

Lee Dronick

Stars generally don?t align, planets do.

There is an app for that smile

I am not chomping at the bit for Lion, but I am looking forward to it and there is some excitement.

What I am chomping for is a revision of Facebook by some professional website designers. Good grief Zuckerberg, pressing return should give you a new line not post the comment! If Google+ doesn’t look like something kludged together then I will probably switch over to that for most of my social networking.


I am not chomping at the bit for Lion, but I am looking forward to it and there is some excitement.

I’m more interested in the hardware rumored to be released with or after Lion: New MacBook Airs and Mac Pros.

Lee Dronick

I?m more interested in the hardware rumored to be released with or after Lion: New MacBook Airs and Mac Pros.

My wife and I each have a current model MacBook Pro 15”, but my iMac is getting medium in the tooth.


Yeah, my intel iMac is in serious need of replacement too; won’t run Lion and the monitor is dying.

I’m planning on the 27” i7 iMac, but I’ve also been looking at a refurbished MacBook Air as an emergency replacement if my mac dies before I’ve saved up enough, or a refurbished Mac Pro if it drops into the same price range as the iMac. New models will mean price drops on the refurbs, and I’m very interested to see where Apple goes with the Pros.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account