Apple Computer has delayed the highly anticipated release of Leopard - aka Mac OS X 10.5 - by four months so it can devote developers and QA resources to its other labor of love, the iPhone. That slates the unleashing of Leopard for October instead of early June at Apple's developers conference.
The announcement confirms rumors that a final version of Leopard wouldn't be delivered until the fall, even if the basis for much of the speculation proved incorrect. A month ago, whispers abounded that Apple was delaying Leopard to ensure its Boot Camp feature was compatible with Windows Vista. That theory was debunked after Apple released a beta of Boot Camp that supported both 32- and 64-bit versions of the new Microsoft OS.
To hear Apple tell it, the real reason for the delay should bring a tear of joy to the Mac faithful:
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.
Apple will present a "near final" beta of Leopard at the June conference and even allow developers to take a copy home with them. While Apple acknowledges the wait for Leopard will be hard on everyone, the company is applying its characteristic sunny optimism to the situation.
"We think it will be well worth the wait," Apple professes. "Life often presents trade-offs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones." ®