Leopard delays - What's the big deal?

Leopard delays - What's the big deal?

Summary: 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?

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TOPICS: Apple
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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?

Topic: Apple

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11 comments
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  • Waiting on Leopard and MacBook Pro

    I am waiting on both Leopard and an update to the hardware of the MacBook Pro. The ATI X1600 just isn't good enough for the quality gaming I plan to do. Hopefully AMD will get the new GPU out the door before Mac decides to jump over to nVidia for their MacBook Pros.
    nucrash
    • What's the big deal? ?

      Telling the Mac cult that the next service pack for the Mac will be postponed is not at all unlike telling a couple wide eyed 4 year olds that Christmas was cancelled. <br><br>
      ;)
      xuniL_z
      • Whoops

        That was not meant to be posted to you. Sorry.
        xuniL_z
  • Mac lovers ripped MSFT for delaying Vista...

    and now they have the same thing happen to them. I just find it interesting. MSFT shifted resources away from Vista for SP2 of XP but that excuse was not good enough for MSFT haters. Granted, there were issues with Vista too, agreed and that did cause some of the delay.
    redtrain65
    • Big difference

      Vista was delayed over five years. Leopard will be delayed five months.

      Also, a fully featured Leopard (basted in top secret sauce) will be available at WWDC.
      So anyone who's hard up for Leopard (sans QA testing) can go to the WWCD in June
      and pick up their copy.
      YinToYourYang-22527499
      • Does this year's WWDC

        Promise to be the Vista bashing event it was last year? When Steve Jobs spends nearly an hour putting down another OS instead of using that time for his own....you know the boy is desperate. That smirky evil sneer of his will be gone soon enough from his face.
        xuniL_z
  • While you list excellent reasons for the delay

    what you fail to bring up is that these were excellent reasons for a delay 9+ months ago. Why did they wait until now to realize that a delay was needed? What has changed since then? Is customer demand any different? At least MS had that as a reason to delay Vista in order to shift resources to XPSP2.

    I say this was poor human resource planning from the beginning. If you know you're going to release two fairly different products at the same time that require resources from the same personnel you need to plan for that. Obviously this didn't happen, and now they've been stuck with having to make a decision of either delaying one of the products or risk shoddy quality. They made the right call at that point, but they never should have been faced with that call in the first place.
    Michael Kelly
  • Don't forget the AppleTV

    I agree it was probably a resource issue. Between Leopard; Tiger updates; month O'Bugs debacle; the iPhone; and AppleTV mods (silly though it may have been) the Apple OS team was probably spread pretty thin.

    And who would have been nominated to tell his "Steve-ness" that there was a bind? We see anyone exiting yet?

    Do I care? Nope, probably buy Leopard when it comes to stay current, and if the laptop is in the house by then, probably a family pack for the OS.
    Jim888
  • The problem is promises

    You can probably recall how Jobs "promised" a 3Ghz PowerMac
    G5 a few years ago and then it failed to appear. Fortunately, in
    that case, the whole issue was solved by the move to Intel
    processors.

    The problem is making promises which you then have to keep
    and which lead to wildly unrealistic expectations. Why promise
    Leopard "before Vista" or "in Spring 2007" if you are not entirely
    sure you can keep to this?

    And heaven only knows what Steve's "Top Secret" features will
    yield - the longer we wait, the more is expected from these, to
    the point where disappointment will be inevitable (could just end
    up being fancy new templates in Mail.app after all! Sigh!)
    pollycat
  • REAL Innovation takes time, but for Apple, fortunately, not too much time

    I can't expect the Microsoft society to know this, but Leopard is introducing some
    key fundamental features that everyone, even the Mac writers aren't picking up on.
    These technologies are so fundamental that some serious QA testing is necessary.
    Probably the biggest such feature is the ZFS file system[1].

    Watch out Microsoft. You couldn't get your WinFS working. Now watch how a
    REAL innovator does modern file systems smartly (i.e. without reinventing the
    wheel).

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zfs
    YinToYourYang-22527499
    • While

      you post away more as an ABMer than anything, you forget the new file system they are stealing, borrowing. licensing..whatever...from SUN (who only exists because of U.S. taxpayers who footed the bill for the Stanford University Network and Berkeley and PARC and the processors and technology SUN got out of that for free and then McNeally was handed the keys to a private business to try and expand on the taxpayer backed technology he was being handed, which really never got all that far considering the free start with antitrust exemption) will not make a bit of difference to 99% of the computer buyers out there. It's not that big of a deal. I've never had problems with NTFS nor has there been any on the 50 servers and 1000 clients I deal with...never lost a bit of data in nearly 10 years. And isn't there a lot more overhead for this filesystem. Logically thinking if every block is duplicated, then a 100GB drive will only hold 50GB of data?
      I have not read the details on the file system, esp since Vista will be getting a brand new filesystem based on brand new technology in the near future that will blow ZFS away.
      xuniL_z