So, Apple has delayed the launch of their Leopard until next October. Apple says that this is because the company needed to shift around key Mac OS X staff in order to make sure that the iPhone goes out of the door on time. This may be the case given the current state of Leopard. But does the delay matter?
From my perspective, all that should really matter is that the software doesn't go out of the door until it's done. Period. Stamping your foot because you want Leopard on your Mac Book now or speculating as to why it's been delayed is all well and good, but a company like Apple isn't going to be delaying Leopard for no reason. Too many of the stories I've been reading come across as rewrites of Vista stories from last year - a quick find and replace on "Microsoft " and "Vista" and change them to "Apple" and "Leopard" and you have a new story.
Sure, a Leopard delay is going to hit sales as many hold out for the release before upgrading, but releasing a shoddy version of Leopard would do more to dent sales. All eyes are on Apple, and it knows it. Sure, delays are going to cause some upset, but a buggy release would cause a lot more upset.
If the real reason for the delay is that Apple has been internally shifting resources in order to get the iPhone out of the door on time, then that's not a bad reason. The iPhone is the most significant product to come out of the mind of Steve Jobs since the iPod. Apple doesn't want to screw this up. Despite popular belief, Apple doesn't have limitless resources to throw at big projects such as a new OS or new hardware. The idea of moving key employees around makes sense, and when that happens, delays are to be expected.
It also makes business and marketing sense to ship the iPhone before Leopard. The iPhone, if it's as successful as predicted, is going to introduce a lot of new people to the Mac OS X. Some of these users are bound to be thinking about making the leap from Windows to Mac. Why not dangle a new version in front of them?
But, Steve Jobs needs to be aware that he made a promise to Mac users and that now he's breaking it (or that's how it looks to a lot of Mac users out there). Many of these disappointed users waiting for Leopard aren't interested in the iPhone and see it as Apple putting a new revenue stream ahead of its existing users. If everything goes smoothly from here on in, users will forgive this slip, but if these kind of 'slips become commonplace, then it won't be good for Apple's image in the long run. What I think we will see from Apple in the future are predictions that are a little more conservative than we've seen lately.
How does the Leopard delay affect you? Are you waiting on the new Mac OS before buying Mac hardware or are you happy to buy the hardware now and upgrade the OS later?