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The public release of Mac OS X Lion is imminent, possibly coming as soon as July 14th, according to the well-sourced 9to5Mac. This news comes immediately after Apple has released the Lion GM build for developers to download through the Dev Center.

Releasing the GM build today will give time for any potential bug reports to come in over the weekend for Apple engineers to address next week, suggesting that the final release could be as soon as next week but more likely the week after.

Looking at the past we can get another hint of the potential release schedule based on prior Golden Master builds. A former Apple employee @iDannyOcean points out that the Mac OS X Snow Leopard build was released a little over two weeks before the official launch, and he suggests that July 19 would be a “good bet” for a launch date. I suspect this could be accelerated slightly, matching 9to5Mac’s date, due to the exclusive Mac App Store digital distribution method. Keep in mind that Apple will still have to print Lion Restore DVD’s and USB Key media to be bundled with new Mac purchases, which may include the long-expected MacBook Air refresh.

OS X Lion will be released exclusively through the Mac App Store as a $29.99 download, this includes a generous personal license that expands the upgrade to all of your personal Macs.

Check out the Lion system requirements and review our archives for more about Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and it’s many new features and improvements.