Apple Delays Leopard, Sky Doesn't Fall

The excessive handwringing about the Leopard delay is really due to the egos of Apple users, argues Mac guru John Welch.


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On April 12th, Apple announced that the next major release of Mac OS X, version 10.5, aka "Leopard" would be delayed until October.

As Apple explained:

iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned. We can't wait until customers get their hands (and fingers) on it and experience what a revolutionary and magical product it is. However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price -- we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned. While Leopard's features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones.

Of course, the Mac market being what it is, this is quite the tempest in a teapot. You have the requisite "So much for making fun of Vista's delays" postings, as if this was on a par with the near half-decade of Longhorn/Vista delays. It's not, and everyone knows it, even the Windows fanboys strutting about like peacocks on the prowl.

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You have the "OMG, Apple is abandoning the Mac for consumer toys." That's nonsense too. The iPhone is running Mac OS X, and while it's going to play nice with Windows out of the box, (where's the Mac version of ActiveSync?), what do you think is going to be the preferred device for iPhone syncing? The Mac. What's the linchpin for the iLife concept? The Mac. What's the hardware center of all the new Final Cut announcements from NAB? The Mac. Apple is hardly abandoning the Mac and Final Cut Pro for the iPhone.

There's the "Apple can't do two things at once" line. This is ridiculous. Apple pulling people from a product that had nothing more than a vague release time (spring), that didn't have contractual obligations to other companies, to one that had a definite release date (June), with partners who have contractual and business partners who need that product done and ready to go on time, (AT&T, et. al), is not a sign of "inability to do two things at once."

It is a sign that Apple knows how to properly triage a problem, and deal with it in the here and now. It's not like Apple isn't trying to hire more people, check out Apple Jobs if you don't believe me. But just adding more people doesn't speed things up that much. Really.

Apple is quite able to do more than one thing at a time, but there is no such thing as perfection.

Of course, there's another cry here, and that is the one about how somehow, this is crippling the ability of IT managers to make purchases. While that might be true, I'm not sure as to if it's more than an annoyance.

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