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Why Apple Delayed Leopard for the iPhone 453

Ernest DeFarge writes "Apple recently announced that they've pulled several key programmers from the OS X 10.5 "Leopard" and assigned them to the iPhone in order to get it done on time. In doing so, they delayed Leopard for 4 months. Does that mean that the iPhone is more important to Apple than Mac OS? Or is it just capitalizing on the current state of Apple's fanbase?"
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Why Apple Delayed Leopard for the iPhone

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  • by catxk ( 1086945 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:41PM (#18732377)
    I guess brand new massively hyped iPhone is more important to Apple than the difference between OS X 10.4 and 10.5 during the limited time period of the summer of 2007.
    • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:44PM (#18732393) Homepage Journal
      Pretty much. This isn't "Apple Vista" we're talking about here. 10.4 is a good OS and there's no rush to upgrade. I think we'll all survive waiting for 10.5 if it means that the iPhone (something which is completely unavailable to the market) gets here faster.

      From a business perspective, Apple doesn't want their major announcements overlapping. So delaying the OS by a few months means that they can provide a steady stream of announcements.
      • by HAKdragon ( 193605 ) <hakdragon@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:18PM (#18732735)
        Pretty much. This isn't "Apple Vista" we're talking about here. 10.4 is a good OS and there's no rush to upgrade.

        There doesn't seem to be much of a rush to upgrade to Vista either.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 313373_bot ( 766001 )
        The comparison is somewhat apt, in my opinion:

        10.4 is a good OS and there's no rush to upgrade

        XP is a good (enough) OS and there's no rush to upgrade

        I believe MS failed its costumers by delaying Vista not because of the delay itself (it would be acceptable if they did ship all the new technology that was promised, not just the eye candy), but because the lateness seems due to incompetence and the inclusion of all sort of technology worthless to the end-user (read anti-consumer drm.)

        Now let's look at Apple:

      • by juiceCake ( 772608 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @02:37PM (#18733457)

        Pretty much. This isn't "Apple Vista" we're talking about here.

        Quite right. Copland/Rhapsody was Apple's Vista.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by moosesocks ( 264553 )
          Nah. Xenix [wikipedia.org] would be a more apt comparison to Copland/Rhapsody. (Although you could also equate Xenix back to A/UX -- another one of Apple's aborted OS ideas).

          The problem with Vista is that it was so hideously behind schedule that the all features that made it worth upgrading were torn out to get the thing actually shipped. MS needed to make the deadline, because XP's teetering dangerously close to its end-of-life. (Official EOL is next January, with mainstream support continuing until 2009), and Win2k
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ClaraBow ( 212734 )
      I think it means that it is more important to get a new product out the door on time and working properly than to deliver an upgrade to an already mature and polished product.
    • by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:54PM (#18732505)
      Since Vista has proven to be absolutely no competition to even the current OS X, what's the rush for Leopard? Get the iPhone right and they'll have a HUGE winner on their hands. A million people [reuters.com] have already queried AT&T about the iPhone through the notification list at Cingular [cingular.com], so who's your daddy?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by joto ( 134244 )

        Since Vista has proven to be absolutely no competition to even the current OS X

        What do you mean? There are probably at least 10 times as many new computers sold with Vista, as with OS X. If Apple had sold operating systems instead of mp3-players, they would have been bankrupt by now. On the other hand, Bill Gates is in no danger of being bankrupt soon.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          The problem with people like you is that you judge success and failure by how fucking popular they are among the market. You have your charts and your spreadsheets full of demographic numbers. This is why you will always be a follower, never a leader. Good grief. If the world were composed only of you and your ilk, life would be very fucking bleak indeed.

          Why is it so hard for you linear thinkers to imagine that there exist different ways to value one's work?
          • by Tragek ( 772040 )
            Here's a congratulations. You have no idea how much that read like a Fake Steve [blogspot.com] post. Or maybe you do. Either way. Congratulations.
          • He was refuting the claim that Vista is no *competition* for OSX, in a thread discussing the business merits of this move. From a Business perspective, where the *money* flows is key, and by any stretch of measuring, MS has probably seen more cash-flow for Vista to date than Apple would claim directly for OSX since 10.0, adding in system sales they might attribute to OSX might shift the picture, but that's hard to measure, since iPod and OSX have been responsible for Apple overall popularity gains. Vista
        • by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:24PM (#18732793)

          What do you mean? There are probably at least 10 times as many new computers sold with Vista, as with OS X

          That's down from 20 times a few years ago. Two-thirds of the people in my office drop kicked their PCs and bought Macs in the last couple of years. That's a trend I'm watching first hand. Those who still want/need a new PC are trying to figure out where to get one with XP. They don't even WANT Vista but that's what's shipping now, like it or not. I've shown a few PC users XP under Parallels and they all had that "aha" moment. More switchers, albeit AC/DC.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            Your anecdote is a perfect example of why I think the Mac community has been compromised by using Office X, and other products from Microsoft's Mac Business Unit. As I have mentioned here before, I do not trust PC-type people. They do not think like us. They are not like us. They are as close to "alien life forms" as we can get without having to leave this planet.

            Seriously, they do not share our values. They hate that we have good taste. They like to keep their windows maximized and their ligatures uncombin
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Two-thirds of the people in my office drop kicked their PCs and bought Macs in the last couple of years. That's a trend I'm watching first hand.

            I take it you're living in the USA, right? While I don't in any way want to oppose your opinion, as I do believe that the trend you're watching is very much real, you have to think outside the box a little.

            I live in a small and rather undeveloped country (but it's getting better); last week was the first time I have ever (!) seen a Mac. It was an iMac running Window

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Jesus_666 ( 702802 )
              As for Germany, the GP's observation applies. Apple is luring in people from both the Windows and Linux camps (I should know, having gone from a Linux/Mac configuration to being a pure Mac user - even though the Linux machine's hardware going haywire is a major factor in that). While people are starting to become aware of Linux, Apple's mindshare is much bigger and thus Apple receives more switchers.

              People know that Apple is cool. People know that Apple creates sleek Hardware and the ones that have taken
        • by SuperMog2002 ( 702837 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:25PM (#18732801)
          Because the release of Vista hasn't really made a dent in Mac sales. Sure, Vista's sold many more copies than Mac OS X has, which everyone should have expected given the market four months ago (i.e. MS dominates and almost all new computers ship with Windows). The key is that, year over year, Apple's sales are still increasing, even though last year they didn't have to compete with Vista and this year they do. Sure, when the iPod first came out 5 years ago, maybe MP3 players were all that was keeping Apple alive. However, today Mac sales are self sustaining and rising.

          In my mind, there was never much of a doubt that Vista would do well. Microsoft just had too much momentum for it to flop. What's up the air right now, especially if it takes 5 years to come out, is Windows 7. MS's momentum is decreasing, and if they don't reverse the trend, then they eventually won't have enough to get another free pass like Vista. The fact that Vista didn't slow Mac sales is bad for them. Very bad.
        • by bgfay ( 5362 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:31PM (#18732851) Homepage
          http://www.paulgraham.com/microsoft.html [paulgraham.com]

          Paul Graham's article "Microsoft is Dead" [paulgraham.com] may be applicable here. For me, I'm no longer worried about buying another Windows machine (yes, I'm on XP right now) because I no longer use apps that are tied to Windows. In fact, as things go, I use fewer and fewer apps that aren't web based. I just don't need them any more. Beyond that, most of the apps I use have free alternatives and I use them.

          The one proprietary application I still use is iTunes with my iPod. So a Mac machine might work for me next time around. I want one because they are so well designed, unlike this HP piece of junk whose battery doesn't make it an hour, and because friends and family have all had very good experiences.

          Then again, I might just throw the whole lot out and buy something cheap and put Ubuntu on it.

          Whatever the case, there's more to the equation than Bill Gates's relative worth.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 2nd Post! ( 213333 )
          Think about it.

          There are 18 times as many PCs as Macs
          Sales of Vista rank only 10 times as much as sales of OS X
      • There I said it.
      • Since Vista has proven to be absolutely no competition to even the current OS X, what's the rush for Leopard?

        Well, if the delay results in people putting off Mac purchases to avoid paying an additional $100 to get the latest OS; that can result in a drop in sales until Leopard is out.

        Get the iPhone right and they'll have a HUGE winner on their hands. A million people have already queried AT&T about the iPhone through the notification list at Cingular, so who's your daddy?

        Signing up for notification is
    • Indeed... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by someone300 ( 891284 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:59PM (#18732569)
      What's up with these binary comparisons? Just because OS X 10.5 was delayed a few months for the iPhone doesn't mean anything to do with OS X being unimportant. The iPhone runs OS X; it must be important.

      Most users are happy with 10.4 and 10.5 is more of a luxury than a necessity. All this means is that 10.4 is sufficient that the general Apple buyer isn't screaming for OS improvements, but that the market may indeed be screaming for a decent mobile phone, like they were screaming for a decent MP3 player around when the iPod gained in popularity.

      Anyway, a lot of the funds and improvements from the potential success from the iPhone will probably be funneled back into OS X and the Mac hardware. Haven't some of the improvements in 10.5, like Core Animation, been brought about due to the iPhone already?
      • by Divebus ( 860563 )

        Two things - It's a signal that Microsoft doesn't matter nearly as much as they used to. With the majority avoiding Vista like the plague, it's way down the cometitive radar screen for Apple which used to chase Microsoft. I'm sure everyone in Redmond smiled for a moment when the Leopard delay was announced... then sank into mild funk realizing Apple would be that much further ahead once the iPhone AND Leopard shipped in time for Vista SP1 - and the holidays.

        Second, Apple is consciously missing the school b

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:44PM (#18732405) Homepage Journal
    Cell phone buyers, or releasing the preview to Microsoft's next OS features?

    ...and you know the end product never lives up to the previews ;-)
  • Rumor has it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <Falcon5768@comca ... t minus caffeine> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:46PM (#18732431) Journal
    That Apple wasnt delaying to for the iPhone more than they are delaying it for some secret additions to the codebase and the testing involved for it that we will get a hint of come WWDC.
    • The biggest secret Apple were protecting at the time is obviously the iPhone.

      Sure, there are probably some things Apple didn't show because they were not ready, interface stuff that they can build on top of resolution independent display for example, or a long list of desperately needed Finder improvements. The Mac rumor mill has been going on about secret features [arstechnica.com] ever since Steve Jobs mentioned those in the Leopard feature Keynote at WWDC last year. Well, device driver support for GSM/GPRS and mult
  • by oskard ( 715652 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:47PM (#18732435)
    I don't know what Leopard is. I know what an iPhone is. You know why?

    Because the iPhone is on the news, tv, radio; everyone is talking about it. It is absolutely more important than OSX at the moment. The iPhone could potentially be Apple's new iPod.
    • by joto ( 134244 )

      I don't know what Leopard is.

      A leopard is an animal related to cats (but bigger) living in parts of Africa and Asia. There are several varieties of them, living in different regions.

      I know what an iPhone is. You know why?

      Because you are more interested in cell-phones than zoology?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LarsG ( 31008 )
      ..or the new Newton. Time will tell.
  • Let's not forget that many OS features on which the iPhone depends are practically guaranteed to make an appearance on the desktop version of OS X, whether that happens in Leopard or the next version after. Things like resolution independence, multitouch, smooth scrolling, Core Animation.

    On a related note, I can't wait until OS X and apps begin expecting high-res displays and multitouch input, making the marriage of OS to hardware ever more obvious even to the squarest of squares. Finally that ought to sile
  • Yes! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:49PM (#18732455)
    Does that mean that the iPhone is more important to Apple than Mac OS?

    Did nobody else notice that when Jobs announced the iPhone, he also renamed the company to take the word "Computer" out of it?

    That sounds kind of, well, I dunno, strategic to me.
    • don't know who this Anonymous Coward is (duh) but he/she has a point. As is evident by the name change Jobs is very serious about growing the company beyond just the mac. Maybe way beyond (music/telecommunications/media).
  • by kzg ( 634262 )
    Its been delayed only 4 months, I don't know what all the drama is for. In fact, this extra development time is going to be very beneficial, because they are going to release a full beta at WWDC for developers.
  • by Black-Man ( 198831 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:55PM (#18732533)
    Pulling QA and Software Engineers off the Leopard project onto iPhone?? I don't care if its the "same" OS, i.e. iPhone using the mobile version of OSX. Adding developers and QA towards the end of a project lifecycle usually means disaster. I'm curious to see if they pull it off.

    • by DingerX ( 847589 )
      My thoughts exactly. It doesn't work like that. You can triple the "man hours" at the end, but:

      A) if there are QA issues, finding the bugs is never a bottleneck; it's getting people to fix them. That means "tuning people" in to the project. People shifted to a mature project at the last minute are going to be much less efficient than those who were working on it, and can even be counterproductive.

      B) If it's problems with some of the features or implementations, having more meetings is only going to slow t
    • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:11PM (#18732685)
      How do you know it happened just now. It could have happened 3 months ago, and they're just telling us now. For all we know, those programmers could have been reassigned last year (in like Oct) and are now heading back to Leopard (which is why we now have a time estimate on release)
    • Adding QA people at this stage is not a bad sign by any means. Apple knows that this will be their most-scrutinized product launch in a very long time. They can't afford to ship an iPhone with any easy to find bugs. It needs to be completely bug free as far as reviewers can tell.

      The reassignment of developers is what is concerning. It may be that they are wanting to get more people familiar with the mobile OS X codebase so that they can be ready to fix the bugs that will surface when it hits the market. But
    • Who said they "added developers and QA towards the end of a project lifecycle"?

      If it's the same engineers doing work on both the iPhone and Mac OS X operating systems, it means that they can't physically two do things at the same time. The time spent to do A for OS X for the iPhone takes away from the time spent on B for OS X in general.

      They had a choice of either releasing a buggy OS X in June or a better OS X in October. The iPhone excuse is valid because it's the same OS.

      And it makes sense. If iPods curr
  • maybe because for many people tiger is just fine and even though leopard will add great features, it wont be like the transition from shit ui phone to iphone
  • by nanosquid ( 1074949 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:00PM (#18732577)
    You can't conclude from a press release what the real reason for the delay is. Leopard may be delayed because of the iPhone, or it may be delayed because it's still buggy, or maybe Apple is still trying to file some last minute patents, or maybe it's something completely different.
  • Quite obvious... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:00PM (#18732581) Homepage
    ..it's a matter of which one they can't afford to fail with. I saw a *lot* of mainstream press on the AppleTV, simply because it was Apple. The reviews weren't that great though, and they really can't afford the iPhone to be a flop - they'll go from being the iPod king to so-so producer of stylish consumer electronics. That is far more important to them than missing an OS upgrade (how long was Vista delayed again? Debian etch? It's not like Apple is the bad apple here.
  • I think (Apple has a couple million advisors everywhere) Apple should have aimed lower with 10.5.

    They should release 10.5 right before Vista or right after it, with the flashiest features (the ones that increase wow-factor and are easy to do) thrown in and steal Redmond's thunder.

    That way, they could even have more time to finish 10.6 with the real (i.e. versioned FS instead of time machine) features and still avoid Vista stealing OSX's spotlight (pun intended).

    But that's just me. I bet they have very compe
    • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:13PM (#18732703)
      I think Apple has no need to aim lower. 10.4 is already better than Vista. There's no pressure on them to rush anything.

      Apple makes more money on hardware sales than it does with software. Thus, it makes sense that the iPhone is a priority (if that is actually the case). Apple got a big hardware sales boost with switching to Intel. However many Mac users, such as myself, haven't upgraded to Intel machines because of the delay with Adobe CS3.

      Leopard is icing on the cake, and I'm sure it's going to be great, but CS3 is going to sell many more new Macs than Leopard.
      • by rbanffy ( 584143 )
        CS3 will sell more Macs to Mac users and more PCs do Windows users.

        Leopard has the opportunity to sell Macs to Windows users.

        If done with the right timing, it would inflict a huge damage on Microsoft, neutralizing the colossal effort to launch Vista.

        The way it is now, all damage suffered by Microsoft at the Vista launch and after is self-inflicted.
    • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <slashdot.stango@org> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:30PM (#18732839) Homepage Journal
      Have you been in a cave on the dark side of the moon since 2000?

      During the last five years, Apple released major versions of OS X about every 1-1.5 years while all Microsoft had was XP. Third party developers were actually complaining because of the rapid pace of change of OS X. Before Tiger was released, Apple announced they would be slowing down the pace of their OS X releases. [eweek.com]

      I'm disappointed that I have to wait longer than expected for Leopard, but I'd rather they ship it when it's ready-- besides, it's not like they had to scrap it midstream and start over, and then chop all the compelling features to make an already embarassingly late ship date.

        It does make sense to focus on the iPhone right now, because the mobile phone market is much larger than the personal computer market. If Apple gets a nice foothold in it, it will mean more money for them to pour into expanding their presence in the computer market.

  • The margins on a $500 phone are much higher than a computer or operating system, particularly when Cingular is going to be bearing most of the distribution and much of the marketing costs.

  • Maybe there deadlines for contracts with Cingular that needed to get done be fore ATT took them over?
    getting the software retry for FCC testing. The Soft is not 100% done yet but needed to get it to a state in where the FCC can test I-phone out.
    • by figleaf ( 672550 )
      I can understand a justification like this for an OS of the same platform.
      However, I would really surprised if Microsoft would claim Vista was delayed due to Windows Mobile.
      The skillsets don't translate well between a small platform like handheld device and full desktop OS.
  • by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:09PM (#18732669)
    It's the iTunes company.

    AppleTV, iPod, iPhone, Airport, etc.... all complements to iTunes.
  • It makes sense for Apple to put a bit more effort into the iPhone because it's a new market - they'll make quite a bit of money off it and sell new product to new customers.

    However, Leopard is pretty much a point upgrade to an existing product; there's no threat to its market leverage apart from its successor, and most copies of it will be supplied with a new Mac - put simply, they an afford to let it slip as it's not as big a cash cow and isn't cracking open a new market for them. In fact for Apple, an OS
  • I read through most of the comments and didn't see anyone state the obvious. Earnings are due next week for AAPL and they'll need to explain why they've lowered targets for Q3. An OS release quarter brings in alot of cash, and analysts need to know ahead of time when so they can accurately (haha) predict the earnings.
  • ... they delayed Leopard for 4 months. Does that mean that the iPhone is more important to Apple than Mac OS?
    This tells me that Leopard was not in very good shape. This sounds like a convenient way to extend its schedule so they could address Leopard's problems while spinning it as a positive commitment to the iPhone. Clever, but transparent.
  • It just seems to be in people's nature to blow things out of proportion and get all worked up over nothing. iPhone looks nifty, I can't afford one at the time, but probably in the future. as for Leopard, some of the features shown are neat, but not making me have apple fever. Really, I always thought it was going to go down like this. WWDC will allow El Jobso to reveal the "TOP SECRET" features, let the devs have some time to support them, etc.

    and really, I don't think anyone was expecting a release before
  • I was going to write my own comment but then I read John Gruber's Bottleneck [daringfireball.net]... and well it better states my opinions on this then I could do myself.
  • by loftling ( 574538 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @02:29PM (#18733357)
    My personal theory is that Apple is hiding a big iphone feature. They announced it in January because they had to for FCC filings, they showed us a bunch of the features to get people excited, but there's going to be something more that justifies the price and their entry into the market.
  • Pushing Leopard back to October lines it up for Christmas and for the fall product line refresh. Releasing Leopard in late spring lines it up for ... nothing much.

    I see this as the opposite of Vista's release. Apple will release a mature, tested, stable product with actual usability improvements that runs *faster* on existing hardware.
  • ignore the hype (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:00PM (#18736871) Homepage
    There's a single OS X development team. OS X is running on Mac, AppleTV, iPhone, and god knows what other products Apple has in the development stream. The team is going to focus on numerous facets of the OS; currently, they're focused more on the iPhone drivers & UI et al. All of which is going to pay off for us Mac users.

    My bet is that the big OS X secret is going to have something to do with new ways of interacting with the computer, using technologies developed expressly for the iPhone initially. All Apple products are high-touch/interactive; the iPhone is *especially* so. The computer and TV platforms can only benefit by that.

    These are very exciting times in the OS world. We are *finally* beginning to get an OS that really lives up to everything an OS should be: stable, secure, great UI, intuitive, pleasant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gig ( 78408 )
      My bet for top secret feature is new Macs with Leopard and multi-touch screens to go with their new zoomable interfaces.

      If you have ever seen Apple Logic it is crying out for a touch screen. Acres of on screen knobs, sliders, buttons, switches. It is not the same UI as 1984. A multi-touch Mac would be very hip with DJ's and it is something that other PC makers can't match because Windows development is going nowhere.

      > These are very exciting times in the OS world. We are *finally* beginning to get an OS
  • Wrong Assumption (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChrisA90278 ( 905188 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @02:08AM (#18738833)
    All the talk about Apple delaying Leopard because of the iPhone assume The Apple statement was telling the truth. My bet is that the real reason for the delay is bugs in Leopard that are taking longer than expected to kill. Notice that all of the developer releases of Leopard have a long list of known issues. Apple needs time to work these off and of course any big company loads people between departments. But Apple can't say publically "Leopard is broken and it will take us until October to fix it/" That simply sounds bad.
  • by galimore ( 461274 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @12:00PM (#18741739)
    I've been keeping track of Apple's development cycle for the past few years, and I don't think the iPhone has anything to do with the delay. ;) In fact, I have been saying for some time that I didn't think the quality of Leopard was on target for a spring release... well before the iPhone announcement. While I suppose it's possible that the iPhone was somewhat of a drain on the core OS developers, I think this all ties into Steve's "Top Secret Features" announcement... the suspicious lack of any Leopard discussions during MacWorld San Francisco is interesting... but not necessarily surprising... If Apple really does have a rabbit up its sleeve, they may have wanted to wait until Vista was sufficiently saturated before unveiling it.

    Keep in mind that Apple claims the iPhone is delayed until June because of the need for FCC approval... so which story are we supposed to believe? ;)

    Also, if you actually break down the time that Leopard has had for development... it's *much* longer than previous releases, and that doesn't have anything to do with the Intel work because Apple's been keeping things in sync for 5 years...

    I'm skeptical of the announcement... Either Apple's dates have slipped, or they've got something big. It surprised me that Jobs stood up and said there were "Top Secret" features coming, so I hope he makes good on that promise... I expect the unexpected at WWDC in June.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.