Apple confirms that OS X Lion will ship Wednesday

Apple has confirmed that OS X Lion will be released July 20, 2011.

Chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer mentioned the ship date in the company’s earnings call Tuesday. Apple earlier had said only that the OS would ship in “July.” Speculation mounted that it would appear this week after rumors surfaced of boxes being delivered to Apple stores around the world, but the company had not given a firm ship date.

The OS includes over 250 new features. The highlights of OS X Lion’s features include multitouch gesture support, the ability to run apps in a tablet-like fullscreen mode, and “Mission Control,” a multitouch-enhanced upgrade to previous OS X’s Expose and Spaces features that makes it easier to switch between apps.

OS X will also be available as a download from the Mac OS X App Store, Apple has promised. The OS will cost $29.99.