Apple’s iPhone Rollout Puts Leopard on Hold

Apple’s iPhone Rollout Puts Leopard on Hold

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Written By Eric Sandler

By Andy Patrizio

April 12, 2007

June release for OS X 10.5 pushed back to October.

Apple today announced it would delay the release of OS X 10.5, codename Leopard. The reason? Apple said it needs to pull away talent working on the operating system to work on its highly touted iPhone scheduled for release this June.

Apple  initially planned to release Leopard at its Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, but now says Leopard will not ship until October. The iPhone will ship in June as planned, although when CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPhone in January, it sounded like the phone was ready to go, it just needed the FCC’s blessings.

“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 as planned,” said Apple in a rather brief statement.

Developers will now get a “near final version” of Leopard at the WWDC show. It may seem odd that the operating system developers are being put on a cell phone, but that’s because iPhone is built around OS X, said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.

“I wondered about this when they announced it, too,” he told “When they introduced the iPhone, what was fascinating to me was they built it around OS X instead of a separate OS for phones. What I sensed then and even do now is that ultimately what they want to do is built a really rich OS environment that is initially used for iPhone but could be expanded in the future.”

Merely hiring more programmers would not have been an option. Bajarin said Microsoft pulled in talent from other projects to finish Vista rather than hire more people, and not because they were being cheap.

“One of the biggest problems when they refocused elements of Vista is they didn’t have time to hire people and bring them up to speed, and that’s a critical issue. When you are in OS development, you have to work with the existing team as much as possible, people who know the code and the APIs. Hiring people new to the company and bringing them up to speed is time consuming,” said Bajarin.

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