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Leopard Won't Leap Until October

To everybody who's asked if they should wait to buy a new Mac until Apple ships the next version of Mac OS X: You might as well get the new machine now, because Leopard won't ship until October.

Apple released a statement late yesterday saying that this new release of OS X would no longer arrive this spring, as previously advertised, because it had reassigned too many OS X developers to finish up the iPhone's software:

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.

The statement concluded on a philosophical note: "Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones."

I am less than shocked at this news. It has been almost two years since Mac OS X 10.4 shipped, but I didn't expect Apple to stick to shipping out a new version of OS X every 18 months or so--that kind of pace has to burn out developers. (I thought the last version showed some signs of being a rush job.) And Leopard incorporates some non-trivial changes under the hood--for instance, a continuous-backup system called Time Machine.

If the extra time ensures that this and other new features works reliably, that's fine. It's not as if Tiger is some horribly flawed product; this operating system remains a pleasure to use, and having to run it for another few months is no cause for depression.

The news may, however, justify a certain amount of schadenfreude in Redmond, considering how Apple poked fun at Microsoft's struggles with Windows Vista last year.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 13, 2007; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  Mac  
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