Mac OS X 10.2 may not make it to Macworld Expo San Francisco early next January.
Sources close to the development of Apple's Unix-based operating system, cited by eWeek, claim that the major update won't be released until the summer, to cash in on the back-to-school period.
In its place, Apple will roll-out more minor updates, just as it did a little while back with Mac OS X 10.1.1. A further update, 10.1.2, is expected early this month, having recently been seeded to developers. Then, in early spring, Apple will release what will presumably be known as version 10.1.3, the source said.
Interestingly, early spring matches the timeframe Apple VP Phil Schiller recently highlighted as the point from which the company will install Mac OS X as the default operating system on new Macs. The timing was chosen, we'd imagine, to commemorate the first anniversary of the launch of Mac OS X 10.0.
We had thought that 10.2 might be delayed from January to March to better mark that date. At this stage the information we have is to vague to say whether the delay the eWeek source refers to will also affect the timing of OS X's roll-out as default Mac OS.
Equally, we wonder if such a delay might also reflect Apple's Power Mac roll-out schedule. As we speculated yesterday in a report on the much-rumoured G5 processor, since 10.2 is said to provide support for the G5's 64-bit addressing, putting the OS' launch back to the summer might indicate that that processor has also been re-scheduled.
That said, the source did indicate that "Mac hardware updates" will appear in January, as we predicted yesterday. OS X 10.1.2 has been tuned for those machines, the source said.
The reason given by the source for the 10.2 delay suggests that Apple is worried that it is shipping major updates to its OS too quickly. That suggests that, like 10.1, Apple intends to charge for future major upgrades. After all, having forced users to fork out 20 bucks for 10.1 in September, it would be cheeky to do so again in January, for 10.2. ®