Apple’s Delaying of Leopard: Should I Be Angry?

Mac OS X LeopardLast August at World Wide Developers Conference Apple showed off some of the features of its forthcoming operating system release Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). With new features like Time Machine and Spaces it was clear that this was going to be an awesome release. I was particularly excited due to the fact that I am a whole version behind (I am still on 10.3, Panther). Steve Jobs stated that Leopard would be available Spring ’07. It was going to be painful to wait that long but I would have to endure it (or else invent time travel).

Fast forward to January 9, 2007 and Steve Jobs’ keynote address at Apple’s Macworld event in San Francisco. As usual he shared some highlights from the last year. Then he launched into the segment about new products. He announced and showed off Apple TV (which they had already talked about before at WWDC 2006). Then something totally unexpected happened. Enter: the iPhone. It blew critics and Macworld attendees away. It’s capabilities were ahead of their time. Jobs went on to announce that Apple had partnered with Cingular for the release of this great phone and that it would be available in June (just six short months away). My thoughts? “Cool! This is great! Leopard and the iPhone and Apple TV all coming out around the same time. It’s gonna be a great time to be a Mac/Apple fan!”

Fast forward to April 12, 2007, or as I like to call it “Black Thursday”. The following was taken from the report that appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog that dark day.

“Apple has just issued a statement announcing that Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard has been delayed until October. The reason? iPhone: ‘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.'”

October? October?? I could not believe that my beloved Apple had let me down. What’s a geek to do?

My first reaction was to question the wisdom of Apple dumping on its computer customers (a base which they have worked long and hard to build up) just for the sake of getting a piece of the cell phone industry action. After all it is clear that since Apple Computer has become simply Apple Inc. that the company is interested in gaining market share in more than just the personal computer market. But really, should I be that angry?

Here is why I ask: the iPod has helped to generate many switchers (i.e. users who switch to the Mac from another platform). Could the iPhone possibly do the same? I really would like for more people to try out the Mac. And perhaps, as with the iPod, when people use the iPhone they will get a glimpse into what makes using the software and hardware of Apple such a great experience. On the other hand, Apple could get lost in a sea of cell phones. The portable music player industry was not very large when the iPod debuted so it was easy for Apple’s product to gain visibility. Not so with the cell phone market. It seems we have more cell phones than Pauly Shore has dumb catchphrases. But it stands to reason that Apple, a company that is quite capable of setting itself apart with unique, innovative products, will be able to rise above the white noise of the cell phone industry.

Plus Apple did people like me a favor by holding this year’s World Wide Developers Conference in June instead of August, at which Steve Jobs is supposed to show off the as-yet-undisclosed “secret” features of Leopard. So the next few months will be agonizing, but interesting.

Josh H.


2 Responses to “Apple’s Delaying of Leopard: Should I Be Angry?”

  1. 1 kev
    May 1, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Way to work a Pauly Shore reference into a blog post about Apple. Well done.

  2. May 8, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    I read the title of your blog & got super duper excited. I thought that perhaps you had blogged about my beloved pet. I read the first few sentences only to find that you had not. What a shame. FYI…I didn’t read any further than those few sentences. I was too distraught.

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