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Mac Lion: The King of the OS X Jungle?

Apple has hinted that new Macs and a new OS X will be on the agenda during its next product announcement, scheduled for Oct. 20. The new OS will most likely be nicknamed "Lion," but beyond that, what Apple has in store is anyone's guess. Meanwhile, Microsoft wants to drive off zombies, Hulu may hold an IPO cash drive, and Google cars drive themselves.

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Mac Lion: The King of the OS X Jungle?

Apple  (Nasdaq: AAPL) has this way of making its more devoted fans feel as though the company is giving them some sort of gift whenever it rolls out a new product. It plans a party, makes special invitations, and trots out the new inventions like it's paying tribute to a visiting dignitary. Nobody's giving anyone anything, of course; it's total salesmanship. Not a bad way to go about it, though.

Its next big show on Oct. 20 will apparently center on OS X and the Mac. Judging from the image on the invite, it looks like the next iteration of the Mac operating system will go by the code name "Lion," keeping up with the usual big-cat business. Hard to say how long they can keep going with that -- I guess Cougar is still open, if they really want to go there, but after that they'll have to dig down to Serval or Ocelot or Munchkin or something. Or maybe Lion is the king of the OS X family, and after this it's on to OS XI.

However, an actual rollout of Lion looks like it would be kind of premature at this point -- Snow Leopard arrived just over a year ago, and Apple's rhythm is usually to release a new OS every two years or so.

Even if the next OS X won't arrive in stores any time soon, though, the company might still give the world a bit of a preview. Apple's iOS devices, especially the iPad, have been flying off the shelves lately, so perhaps Lion will promise a new level of integration between Apple's mobile devices and its notebooks and desktops, allowing OS X users to get the devices to interact through means other than iTunes. Just a guess.

But Apple couldn't possibly throw a party without tossing out a few new products to get the fanboys salivating. The invitation also included a phrase -- "Back to the Mac" -- so it's likely we'll see the arrival of some new desktop or laptop hardware, possibly a new version of the MacBook Air, which hasn't received a whole lot of upgrade attention since it was launched nearly three years ago. And if new computers are in the making, they'll come just in time to make all the back-to-school shoppers start grinding their teeth over the new MacBooks they bought last August.

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