Apple's Leopard OS Slips

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said that while Leopard -- the operating system slated to replace the "Tiger" version of the Macintosh OS -- would be essentially finished by June, it wants to take more time for quality testing.

"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 at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned," Apple said in a late Thursday press release. "While Leopard's features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us."

Among other things, Apple executives have said Leopard would be a much easier operating system to install as an upgrade to existing systems. Many believe such a feature would be a stark contrast to the at-times balky version of rival Microsoft's new Vista OS.

Apple solution providers had been anticipating the launch of Leopard as a key driver of sales, and said some customers have been putting off Mac system upgrades until the software is out. An application that is considered strategic to the Apple platform, Adobe's Creative Suite 3, began shipping last month -- the first time an updated version of Adobe's flagship software was optimized for Intel versions of the Mac OS.

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In its statement, Apple said it would provide full beta versions of Leopard to developers attending its World Wide Developer's Conference in June, the forum at which the company had initially intended to launch the OS.