TUAW readers know from past articles that Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" is expected to ship sometime this summer -- Apple told us that during the Back to the Mac event on October 20, 2010. Now MacNN has noted that listings for Lion books in the UK Amazon bookstore may indicate a possible ship date for the next generation of Mac OS X.
The post notes that several books are showing a July 28 ship date, with others targeted for August 5 and August 28. As much as I'd like to believe that we're going to see a mid-summer release of Lion, I can tell you from personal experience that these dates are pure conjecture.
Fellow TUAW blogger Michael Grothaus and I recently signed a contract to write a Lion book that is scheduled for August 2011. Does that mean that we know the ship date of Lion? Hell no, and neither do any of the other authors who I've talked to about their Lion titles.
Most publishers want to build buzz about upcoming books and also get placeholders into online bookstores as soon as they can. To do this, publishers work with the authors to come up with a best-guess date, knowing that the operating system and book may not come out until later. As it is, the most any of us know at this point is that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will ship between June 22 and September 23, 2011 -- that's summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Considering that we don't even know when the first betas of Lion are going to be sent out to developers, it's entirely premature to come up with a ship date for the OS or books about Lion.
With any luck at all, we'll see the first beta of Lion at WWDC 2011, which many Apple pundits believe is scheduled for June 5 - 9. After that, the OS will go through numerous revisions as developers find bugs, and during that period is when most of the Lion authors are going to be scrambling to get their books written. As for July 28, August 5, or August 28 release dates? I seriously doubt it.