Leopard Delayed Until October

Written by: Chris Christensen

Categories: News

CNet.com reports:

For once, the rumor mill was right: Apple will be delaying Leopard, the next release of Mac OS X, until October.

The company said in a statement Thursday that because of the push to get the iPhone out by June, it had to pull engineers from the Leopard development effort and reassign them to the iPhone. As a result, Leopard won’t be finalized until later this year, and only a preview version will be available at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Looks like maybe Apple should have named it after a slower cat.

Apple’s official statement

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. While Leopard’s features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we’re sure we’ve made the right ones.

Editor’s comment: Has Apple been having their water imported from Redmond? Seriously, they couldn’t just use some of their vast cash reserves to hire some additional developers? I guess Steve was really serious about the dropping of the whole computer from the Apple name. I love iPods, the Apple TV, and the iPhone as much as the next Apple fan, but come on. Apple’s roots and the heart of company are in the OS and in the glorious systems we get stuff done on each and everyday. Has Apple lost sight of that in lieu of the consumer success of the iPod? Leopard has already had the longest development time of any OS X update to date. I don’t think Apple is giving us the whole story here. Let’s just hope they don’t pull another play from Microsoft’s rulebook and start ripping announced features out of 10.5 just to try and make their new ship date.

There are 30 comments on Leopard Delayed Until October:

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  1. Drewbean | Apr 12 2007 - 06:09

    All Vista comparisons aside, if this is what we can expect when “Apple Computer” becomes
    “Apple, Inc”, then true Mac fans are in trouble. Personally, I could care less about a $500 cell phone.

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but the reason I listen to the MacCast, and why I love Apple if because of my experience using their excellent OS and computers. All the other stuff, iPods included, is icing on the cake.

    Apple should first bake the “Leopard cake””, before putting all their resources into the “icing”.

  2. Craig | Apr 12 2007 - 06:52

    I’m just hoping they offer students (like myself) a free upgrade to leopard when they buy a new mac in August. I’m deciding weather or not to pay an extra $300 for a MacBook Pro instead of a black MacBook. If I have to pay for Leopard, I will be forced to go with the MacBook. I’m sure I won’t be the only one who would have to downgrade because of this either.

  3. Andrew | Apr 12 2007 - 07:19

    I think Apple’s planning on iPhone being huuuuuuge! I sure hope they’re satisfied. Personally, I think it’s a little…..overpriced; although it does offer AWESOME features.

  4. Gary | Apr 12 2007 - 07:23

    I agree with the sentiments so far. When a phone takes precedence over the core OS buyers will begin to wonder what has happened to the business values of a company. Apple’s loyal following has not been gained by ignoring what is really important to them. If we were like that, we would own PC’s and “depend” on Windoze.

  5. Craig | Apr 12 2007 - 08:37

    Are they ignoring OS X or are they building onto OS X in a smaller form factor?

  6. Kim Helliwell | Apr 12 2007 - 08:35

    Hiring more programmers won’t help. Haven’t you ever heard of the “Mythical Man-Month”?
    While it’s a personal disappointment that we have to wait four more months, I’m willing to give Apple a pass on this one. Every new cat has been worth the wait, and I’m pretty sure, from all that has been said about this one, it will be too. I expect we’ll get more to look forward to when Steve unveils the “secret” features at WWDC.

  7. Jack | Apr 12 2007 - 09:16

    Apple’s getting too big for their britches. Hopefully it is growing pains. Given Steve said at the keynote that he had been in the lab working on the iphone for the past 6.5 months, I had a bad feeling about this.

    I would have let it pass giving that Steve said at WWDC last year that “we THINK we can get it out by next Spring”, but Apple’s PR people a couple weeks ago said they were still planning on a Spring release responding to the October Rumor (that blamed it on bootcamp).

    So are they going to release iLife ’07 in October? Or just call it ’08? Or call it Leopard Edition?

    Man they really screwed up. Ok, sorry for venting. It’s frustrating, and a bit scarry as you have implied.

  8. Adam Christianson | Apr 12 2007 - 09:45

    I am not saying more programmers on a single project which does bring into play the “Mythical Man-Month”. Apple said they have pulled developers from Leopard to work on iPhone. My point was why not have two full staffed teams?

  9. J Dyer | Apr 12 2007 - 09:48

    i really dont see what the big deal is. Tiger works fine, it not like it has major problems or bugs. Also i seen alot of snickering about “just like Vista” its 4 bloody months not 4 years. How many people knew they were going to release Leopard, compared to the number that knew about the Iphone. I put this down to triage….would you rather have leopard be late (little stock decrease) or say your delaying the Iphone (huge hit). Just my two cents.

  10. Chris | Apr 12 2007 - 09:42

    I would have to agree with Dyer on this one. While its unfortunate that we have to ‘wait’ a little longer on Leopard, its really not the end of the world. As Apple fans, it seems we have become spoiled by the regular updates and I fail to look at this as the end of the world. Since this OS has been delayed the stakes are high for Apple to release an even more feature-packed system this time around and from what I’ve seen so far, it seems anything but….Time Machine, Spaces,,,,,,come on. Lets be patient folks and not look too much into this

  11. Matt | Apr 12 2007 - 10:56

    I can only imagine how difficult this was for Jobs to delay the new OS… Ballmer is probably lining up interviews already!

    As a fan boy, I’m dissapointed… but as others have said, 10.4.9 is fine!

    Financially, it’s all about the iPhone. I’ll be happy to get my phone in the “spring” and have a killer new OS in the fall.

  12. Neil | Apr 12 2007 - 11:16

    As I tap my foot in dismay, I am praying that Apple will just “surprise” us during WWDC and claim that the developers have worked their butts off… like they did with the Intel transition.

  13. Rene | Apr 13 2007 - 01:16

    This only shows that new versions of operating systems are getting harder and harder to develop. Something has to change in the industry, otherwise this trend will continue, and there will be some point in the future after which no new versions will appear, only minor updates.

    Perhaps we are expecting too much from an OS to deliver that Wow factor and instant satisfaction. Perhaps an OS should just do what it is supposed to do: remain in the background and let applications do the stunning stuff, using frameworks shared between operating systems. I’m sure that, otherwise, some currently open source operating system will prevail over Apple and Microsoft, both in software and hardware.

  14. xerent | Apr 13 2007 - 01:19

    OK, now maybe it’s time for…


    I’d kill off the iPhone over the Mac OS any day and I personally think Apple’s made a bad call on this one. You know what they say: “If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both”.

  15. Rich | Apr 13 2007 - 01:40

    They might say October and then release it a bit earlier so that every one will be like “wow it’s not as late as we thought!”

  16. Andy | Apr 13 2007 - 02:04

    Throwing more people at a late project does not make it ship earlier – it makes it ship later ! Adding more people *multiplies* the number of communications channels in the project, so you end up with less, not more, productivity.

    The perfect recent example of this is Microsoft Vista – the more people they threw at the project the later and later it got.

    Apple have got the right approach here – keep plugging away at it and ship it as bug free as possible, even if that’s a bit late.

  17. Andy | Apr 13 2007 - 02:07

    …though I do think it would be a good idea for Apple to offer free or reduced price upgrades to Leopard to anyone who buys a Mac after June.

  18. ZionLion | Apr 13 2007 - 03:37

    TuT TuT, Apple inc when announced at Mac World gave me a sick feeling in my stomach, I hoped that they would not get lost in the forest of greed (iPhone) (AppleTV). The core of the company has shifted and no longer do the foundations (OS X) prop up this corporate and remember the phrase ” Think Different”.

    Still this announcement is good for the soul and helps consumers strip through the hype, marketing and “we love our customers”. What we will end up with is another mass produced white brand that will grow tired and die.

    Leave behind your faithful “at your peril”.

    Is this the start of the end?

  19. Jonathan C. | Apr 13 2007 - 05:36

    I just hope this delay of Leopard isn’t what they were talking about when they had the ‘Vista 2.0’ signs up at last years WWDC.

  20. isaiah1112 | Apr 13 2007 - 06:05

    I too feel that this delay of Leopard in favor of working on the iPhone is a mistake… The iPhone better do as well as Apple wants or else they are wasting 3/4 of 2007 on a single product which is entering a market saturated with competitors.

  21. Dave | Apr 13 2007 - 07:07

    I guess this means I won’t be getting a new Mac until October, I was really hoping to get it before then, so I hope my old 12″ Powerbook will last until then. Good thing I just ordered a new battery for it.

  22. Webmonster | Apr 13 2007 - 08:39

    I too don’t think Apple is giving us the whole story here. Because remember, not so long ago Apple claimed there was no delay: Spring 2007! Talk ing about trust …

    Oh, and one more thing: Europeans (especially non-UK) are used to waiting ;-)
    e.g. iPhone (!)
    e.g. iTunes international content (which makes the Apple TV!)
    Yes, it’s kinda funny Apple blames the iPhone because that device will NOT sell in June, not in Europe.

    Time for a new t-shirt I guess …

  23. Tracy | Apr 13 2007 - 02:03

    I really hope that their reason is BS. I hope that the real reason is either Vista, as DigiTimes said, or one of the super secret features. I’d love if Leopard supported some kind of fast-OS switching or something (put OS X to sleep, launch Vista….).

    Apple should have known approximately the amount of resources it was going to need for the iPhone and Leopard, and seeing as both have been in development for a while they would’ve had time to figure out that more people were needed.. I agree that adding people now would be useless (especially after getting noobs up to speed..), but adding them at the beginning of one of the projects might have been useful.

    It would kind of make sense for them to take developers off Leopard to temporarily work on the iPhone, especially if it was for the OS, but…. I still don’t like that notion.

  24. Macinjosh | Apr 13 2007 - 07:01

    Sorry, but this is straight up bullsh*t. Apple CLEARLY needs to get their priorities in line. I have had a bad feeling in my gut ever since Macworld ’07 & this is why.

    Hmm, no mention of ANY Mac products at MACWORLD, instead they were all consumer doodads. Steve dropping the “Computer” from Apple’s name after 30 years, partnering with a cell company instead of offering the phone without contract so now their will be a Cingular entity in the Apple Retail Stores. Great, we dont have a new OS to compete with Vista or a new iLife/iWork, but by god we’ve got a $600 cell phone & some awesome Cingular service to go with it!! Who cares. Seems they are going after the consumer “iPod crowd” (who usually own PCs) these days & screwing the faithful Mac users.

    I must say, its been a while since I’ve been THIS disappointed with Apple, if ever. I don’t like where their heads are at.

  25. Steve | Apr 13 2007 - 08:20

    As a project manager in IT myself, it’s not about the quantity of the members of the team…it’s the quality. Just think of all the good ideas that may spill into Leopard from the time that those folks spend on the iPhone project. I for one think that the iPhone will be a better success as a result of these resources reallocated. Even if you don’t want one (and as a Canadian I may never see one up here), it’s still a mini OS X and those technologies and ideas will end up in the same OS X that we use on our Macs. I think we may just see the influence of the iPhone thinking in Leopard when they show Leopard preview at WWDC.

    As for the cost and a “free” copy. Remember it’s still a business. Leopard is still cheaper than any of the 8 versions of Vista. Instead of buying starbucks each day, save the money. Put it in a piggy bank. By the time Leopard is released you should have enough $$.

    I think the comments about how tougher and tougher it is to develop an OS is bang on. The backward compatibiility requirements always limit your advancements and increase your testing cycles.

    If we weren’t complaining about the delay, we would be complaining about why apple would release a buggy Leopard when they should have waiting for the iPhone stuff to be done. I don’t think there is winning scenario here for Apple.

  26. kb2zuz | Apr 14 2007 - 04:45

    I’m personally upset, because I have no plans to buy an iPhone (at least at its current price point, and with its current carrier.) Also I am getting disconcerted with the lack of product announcements and recent launches that have been announced and pushed back (such as the Apple TV.) I must temper this with the past year and a half of constant launches and break-throughs. For a while you could almost expect every 6th week there would be a new product, an Apple special event, or some other big announcement. Video iPod, Nano, iMac G5 w/ iSight, Mighty Mouse, Aperture, Tiger port to Intel, Intel iMac, Intel Mac Mini Mac Book Pro, Mac Book, iPod 5.5G (ok, big whoop), Nano 2G, Shuffle 2G, Core 2 Duo upgrades all around, Mac Pro, plus the constant upgrades to iTunes and the additions of content to the ITMS. Thats a lot in the past 2 years.

    Unfortunately it seems Apple is having trouble keeping up the pace. It also seems that all the buzz they’ve generated has a lot of share holders looking for even bigger things. So when they can’t produce another product they announce what’s coming out soon: iTV, Leopard, iPhone, and from our point of view, that’s putting them further behind, because they have to come out with those first before they can launch anything new.

    Yes, I want Leopard, and I love seeing new announcements, but right now I’m very happy with my Core Duo iMac running Tiger and my 5G iPod. Optimistically I’d love to think part of the Leopard delay is adding even more features to it. If the early rumor was the delay is based around Boot Camp, it would be amazing if they are working on implementing some of the Windows APIs in OSX, but I doubt that’s going to happen.

    Apple has had amazing growth and development in the past few years. Unfortunately I think they have lost a little of their humility and now hubris is catching up with them. I’d prefer if they just kept working silently, let the rumor mills churn away, and wow the hell out of us when Steve comes on stage, shows us something we’ve barely imagined and then says “And it’s shipping TODAY.”

  27. BJ Wanlund | Apr 14 2007 - 12:54

    I really, roundly, do not care that Leopard is being delayed. I don’t even think that this is the truth. It’s just Apple trying to lead us on, and allow the rumor mill to churn while Apple’s developers silently work their butts off. This news story is just a way for the rumour mill to lay off of Leopard while they polish it. I think that the 6.5 months Steve spent in the lab to produce the iPhone unit did pay off. It allowed Apple’s other developers to focus on getting Leopard ready for Worldwide Developer’s Conference, iLife 07 and iWork 07, and the new versions of Apple’s pro products.

    Any problems with my logic here? It seems to me like the hardware on the iPhone is “done”. It’s just the software that needs tweaking. So are some of the hardware guys silently working on Leopard?


  28. mauiboy | Apr 15 2007 - 06:12

    I think this is as good a reason that Apple is delaying the release of Leopard. Scroll to the comment section at the bottom of this link and read comment #1 by Tommo_UK.


  29. Neo | Apr 16 2007 - 12:54

    Whatever their reasons may be, I’m very disappointed with Apple’s decision. I was planning on buying a new Mac this spring, holding off for Leopard based on Apple’s announced ship date, and now I just got a nice 6 months delay which messed up all my plans. Of course it is better to ship an OS late and well than early and full of bugs. But if they were unable to deliver on their launch date, I just wish they hadn’t advertised one in the first place. So I’m just frustrated because out of nowhere my hands are tied behind my back by my own decision to trust Apple to keep their word on their promise to their customers. Makes me want to think it over a little wiser next time, you know?

  30. Matt | Apr 28 2007 - 08:17

    are they any rumors of a “update your OS for free if you bought a new mac up to 3 months before the release of 10.5” coupons? i bought my ibook 2 years ago, 2-3 months before tiger was released. when tiger came out 2 months (or so) later, i was given a free upgrade disk for tiger… maybe we can hope they’ll do something similar this time…??