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The elephant in the room: Apple pulls a Microsoft, delays Leopard past original promise

The first bell that rung in my ear when Steve announced Mac OS X 10.5's ship date of Spring 2007 was: "Apple just pulled a Microsoft". I know, I know: those words might be nails on the chalkboard in your head, but it's true. Leopard was originally promised for Fall 2006, and now it's been bumped back to 2007.

Now don't get me wrong, if they need the time to work on it and bang out all the new features (including those secret ones they couldn't even show today) then by all means the company should take their time. I'm simply interested in the ramifications, if any, of a delay like this.

Microsoft has received boatloads of criticism from every media outlet imaginable for continually delaying Longhorn Vista for the last 4 years. Some have postulated that today's modern and feature-packed OSes might be getting too big for their britches. Even those recent prominent un-switchers in the media also cited buggy software and wonky Mac OS X problems as part of their reasoning for jumping ship.

I'm not trying to Pull a Dvorak™ and invent some crisis here or anything, but could some of these complications be making their way into the Apple side of the fence? Each new version of Mac OS X has brought incredible innovation with it (and these 10 new Leopard features are no exception), but also slightly more instability and 'growing pains' as well. Mail.app is widely harped on for a good number of reasons, namely instability and flakiness. GarageBand rocks, but only until you try to use the fancy podcast recording features. Even the cutting-edge new Spotlight is a great concept with a decent implementation, but it too suffers problems of inaccuracy, sluggish performance (even on recent machines like my MBP) and over-activity.

What do you TUAW readers think though? Is the new Leopard ship date cause for alarm? Do you think you'll pick up the 1.0 release, or wait for initial reports and the subsequent updates? Sound off!

[UPDATE: For clarification, many reports since the introduction of Leopard have changed their tune for a release of 'late 2006/early 2007', but plenty of them, at least around the original announcement, specified Fall 2006.]

The first bell that rung in my ear when Steve announced Mac OS X 10.5's ship date of Spring 2007 was: "Apple just pulled a Microsoft". I...