Apple To Delay Leopard to October?

There’s talk that Apple may delay the release of OS X Leopard (OS 10.5) to October of this year. The reason? Windows Vista. At least, that’s the reason being cited by industry sources.

I personally find this hard to believe. While Boot Camp is a great feature, enticing hesitant Windows users to at least try out OS X and giving them the option to use Windows as well, it’s hardly THE reason to buy a Mac. Plus this runs against two fundamental issues:

  1. Microsoft Vista adoption has not been very high
  2. Apple didn’t want you to upgrade to Vista merely because iTunes was half-compatible. What makes anyone think they’ll put off a whole OS to make Boot Camp work with Vista?

From the article:

If Leopard supports only Windows XP, then the chances of the new OS attracting Windows users to buy an Apple computer decreases, stated industry observers, noting that with Vista support, Apple’s chances of increasing its share of the PC market would increase.

Users aren’t running out and buying Vista en masse, and as it stands, the operating system of choice for a Boot Camp install is still Windows XP. To delay an OS X refresh from the suspected April-to-June launch to October wouldn’t increase, but decrease sales. Even if Boot Camp-Vista compatibility is a problem, it would make sense to launch Leopard with XP compatibility, then add Vista support as an update later; perhaps October if that’s how long it takes. That way, the users who want Leopard and don’t care about Vista can buy their computers/upgrades earlier and the people who want Vista can wait until October for the update.

Sure, there may be a small decrease in the number of users interested, compared to launching with fully Vista compatibility; the people who wanted Vista as well as OS X will probably wait until a version of Boot Camp supports Vista. However, the OS X refresh would be available several months earlier. This would be a catalyst for users who use OS X (and Windows XP) while not affecting Vista users – they’ll just wait until the update is available, presumably in October. Waiting until a fully operational version of Boot Camp before launching Leopard only serves to irk users who don’t care about Vista.

I’m seriously hoping Apple won’t push Leopard out that far. I’d been planning on picking up a MacBook (Pro?) this summer, hopefully after a combined Leopard+Santa Rosa upgrade to the lineup.

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