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OS X Leopard delayed until October

Apple today announced that the next version of OS X, Leopard, will not release until October due to resources being pulled to support the iPhone development. Naturally, this has gotten many Mac message board posters to act like Steve Jobs canceled Christmas.

Me? I fall in the “meh” category. I was certainly hoping the OS would come out sooner than that, but since the iPhone is a bigger deal right now and its delay would be incredibly bad PR, Apple had no choice but to pull resources to work on it. Since the iPhone runs a version of OSX, logic would dictate those resources would come from the Leopard team.

I’ve seen people ask: “Why didn’t Apple just hire more people?” and as anyone who’s done any sort of Project Management will tell you, simply hiring more people during the critical phase slows the project, not speeds it. These people need to be trained, acclimated to the company, and gain an understanding of the code base.

I want the OS to come out when it is damn good and ready. Tiger works just fine for me. The only bad part is now it’s likely to hit around the time of the Office upgrade so I’ll be doing two upgrades closer together than I had hoped.

Latest Leopard Rumor: iLife and iWork included

According to this ThinkSecret Article, Apple is shipping Leopard in June and it will come with iWork 07 and iLife 07. While some of the Leopard rumors I’ve read require a big grain of salt, I think this one has got some legs for the following reaons (some of which are stated in the article, but I agree with).

  • At WWDC last year, Steve Jobs announced some of Leopard’s features would remain Top Secret so Microsoft didn’t copy them.
  • Since then, we’ve seen nothing from Apple about Leopard, iLife or iWork. Not even at Macworld this year.
  • Because Vista was pretty much feature-locked during last August’s WWDC, there’s not much that Apple could have done that Microsoft would have been able to react to…
  • … unless of course that was bundling the Apple version of Office. Granted, Pages isn’t anywhere near as powerful as Office, but it doesn’t take a big-time copywriter to come up with the next “Mac vs. PC Ad”: “See, PC, my new OS comes with a photo management suite, a movie maker, a dvd maker, a web page creator, a word processor and presentation software. What does yours come with? Oh, Paint and Wordpad. How quaint!”

One of the other rumors floating around is iWork and iLife are going to be heavily dependent on Leopard’s features (my guess is Core Animation, Spaces and Time Machine) and with potentially not much else in Leopard to make it a must-have upgrade, adding in iWork and iLife makes Leopard a tremendous value, assuming the price doesn’t go up too much.

Apple has said recently that Leopard is on-track for a Spring release, and the latest developer builds still don’t have anything that could be considered Top Secret. Bundling the two packages would be considered Top Secret, and wouldn’t interfere with the Spring release.