OS X Lion rumors: Do we want to believe 'em or not?

I don't know if you've noticed a trend, but at TUAW we've been trying to downplay a lot of the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion / MacBook Air refresh rumors that have been flooding a lot of other sites lately. The occasional one squeaks in, but for the most part we're trying to stay away from the daily "IT'S COMING TOMORROW!!!!" posts that have been so common over the last few weeks on some other Apple sites.

Why? Frankly, it's because we're bored to death by the same rumors that have been coming out day after day after day. Not to say that we're not wondering ourselves about Lion and those new MacBook Airs, but let's face it: is it really necessary to post rumors every day?

That being said, there are some indications that Wednesday may finally be the day that Cupertino blesses us with new hardware and operating system software. We received an anonymous email from an Apple Store employee who told us about new marketing materials (see photo above) that were sent to the store last week in a "Visual Merchandising" container, filled with materials used to market a new notebook computer. MacBook Air? MacBook? Who knows. There are also persistent rumors of Mac mini and Mac Pro updates, which our source didn't see in the marketing bin.

The same source noted that his/her Apple Store was down to "less than two dozen MacBook Airs, with no shipments on the horizon." Yes, we believe that there are new MacBook Airs coming out. As for the exact day? We have no clue. Until or unless a helpful (possibly disgruntled) Apple Store employee sends us a photo of the specs from a new MBA, we're as much in the dark as the rest of the world.

Our compatriots at MacRumors and AppleInsider are venturing that all of the new hardware and OS X Lion are going to arrive at 8:30 AM EDT on Wednesday, July 20. Will it happen? I guess we'll have to wait until Wednesday morning to be sure. MacRumors has reported that Apple Retail Stores are receiving copies of Lion on hard disks that have been sent to the stores for distribution onto the Macs in each store. Fortunately, the wise Arnold Kim at MacRumors is hedging his bets by stating that "This, of course, doesn't guarantee a specific launch date, but brings Apple one step closer to launch."

The TUAW response to all of this? We're preparing for launch, and we'll push the button when we actually see something new. Are we playing it safe? Yes. But we're also trying to avoid the repetition of "It's coming out TOMORROW!!!" rumors that have been bouncing around for the last three weeks.

When Lion and refreshed Macs get here, then we'll let you know. Cheers!