Cupertino (CA) – Apple made a surprising announcement today, saying that the company will sacrifice an on-time launch of its next-generation operating system code-named Leopard in order to be able to ship its iPhone as planned.“iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned. (…) However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price,” Apple wrote in a statement released to the press this afternoon.
That price was to “borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from [the] Mac OS X team,” which apparently were extensive enough to force Apple to delay the launch of the operating system. The company said that it will not introduce the software at the Worldwide Developers Conference in early June; while Apple expects all features of Leopard to be completed by June, the firm does not expect to be able to deliver a “quality release” at that time. A new shipment date has now been set for October of this year.
Apple promises developers to have a “near final” version of the software available in June and mentioned that it will hand out a beta copy.
Apple ended the announcement by saying “life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones.” While we do not know the exact circumstances that led Apple to this decision, it is quite clear that the company was hit with a workload that it did not expect when it developed the iPhone. For customers who are waiting for Leopard, the delay may be painful, but many users probably prefer to get a quality product a few months later rather than a beta that is sold as a final a few months earlier.
What we learned today is that the iPhone already has become a more important product for Apple than its operating system – and the priorities are clear: A delay of Leopard is less painful than a delay of the iPhone. “We can't wait until customers get their hands (and fingers) on it and experience what a revolutionary and magical product it is,” Apple said about its iPhone today. According to the company, the iPhone is on track to ship late in June of this year.