Apple has just sent out invitations for a Mac-themed event scheduled to take place next week, on October 20. The invitation -- which you can see below – depicts a touchpad-like shape with an Apple logo cut out at the center and a lion peeking out from behind. And just in case you are unaware of Apple’s history of using big-cat names for its OS updates, the company explicitly tells press members to come take a "sneak peek of the next major version of Mac OS X."

Distributions of Mac OS X 10.7 have been making the rounds inside Apple under the internal code-name "Barolo" since early 2010, according to Apple Insider, and we’ve been seeing it in our own server logs for a while too. If previous OS X-centric events are any indication, company executives will likely talk up OS X 10.7's new features, demo a few of them for attendees, and then announce a shipping date for sometime in late 2010 or early 2011. We’re not sure what to expect in terms of new features, but better integration between OS X and iOS and a continued focus on implementing multi-touch within its operating system are a couple of possibilities driving much speculation.

Apple's iLife and iWork suites of lifestyle applications and productivity software are also supposedly due for a revamp, while on the hardware side there are rumors of a new MacBook Air and some minor updates to the MacBook line.