Archive for April, 2007

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Mac OSX Leopard Delayed to October

April 16, 2007

So the latest news in Apple world is that Mac OSX Leopad, the latest and supposedly greatest release of OSX from Cupertino has been delayed to October. In a statement from Apple, the reason for the delay is simply a reallocation of resources from Leopard to the iPhone, still due to release in North America on time in June.

Personally, I have mixed emotions on this bit of news. While the release of a new OS version is typically extremely anticipated, looks like this latest release doesnt seem to be too revolutionary and there doesnt seem to be massive disappointment by Apple fans.

To a large extent, I think its the positioning of Steve Jobs since last year of Tiger being the most advanced OS and already ahead of Vista which therefore, either consciously or unconsciously, seems (in my opinion anyway) to have managed the expectations of the user base of the new release being more evolutionary than revolutionary.

Furthermore, the current disclosures on Leopard, through the sneak peek which has been around forever, and the more recent slew of screenshots as the varous pre-release builds have come out, seem to show nothing hugely new. The press release is so Redmond wont pre-maturely turn on their photocopiers, but at the same time, the limited release of information, even rumors, on what Leopard will be seems to have lowered the level of anticipation of the normally excited general public.

While this approach is definitely a valid strategy for a new product release, my view is that this strategy will only be hugely successful if the final product is nothing short of huge. Despite the bad press about Vista everywhere, including reports of slow consumer takeup and companies waiting before they upgrade, Vista in the consumers’ view is vastly different in the UI department from XP (which I think to a large extent of consumer perception is still more important than whats under the hood). I think that Leopard cant come short of showing something with some major WOW factor, to the risk of being seen as just another plain old Software Update to OSX.

Interestingly, though, Apple’s stock price didnt take much of a hit for the announcement. Is it because the general public bought the spiel that Tiger is already the most advanced OS around (which in this case may mean that the release of Leopard may not be a significant driver to new Mac purchases)? Could it also be that Apple is more seen as a content and mobile media company now, because of the iPod and iTunes Music Store, that the delay is not expected to significantly impact the company’s business as a whole? Or is it because everyone still have remnants of the iPhone frenzy that people still look at the iPhone shipping on time as good news?

In any case, only time will tell. So what do you all think about this announcement?

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