Theory: Leopard delay due to hardware, NOT iPHONE!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by MikeDTyke, May 5, 2007.

  1. MikeDTyke macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    I've been thinking about the recent announcement from Apple regarding the delay.

    <quote>we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS(R) X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned. While Leopard's features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their f inal testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones.</quote>

    To me, this does not make sense. If a piece of software is feature complete, it' does not take 4/5 months to squash bugs, not if your original release date was June, after over 2 years of development. 4 weeks, a month, these are typical Apple delay timeframes. They are not Microsoft, they utilise small focus'd dev teams, that occasionally slip but not due to the inefficiencies of a large beurocratic process.

    My hypothesis is that Apple using iPhone as an excuse is smaller part of the overall reason. I've no doubt that something as sophisticated as the iPhone could suffer a lack of resources. However if they'd originally planned a June date for both and hadn't told the majority of the developers that were working on leopard about iPhone. As is apple's modus operandi, then either there's been an almighty cockup in the management of the iPhone project (unlikely) or something else, possibly 3rd party is also related to the pushed out release.

    My theory is that if leopard is feature complete by June, then they are waiting delivery or favourable pricing on a piece of hardware. Now originally most thought leopard was closely tied to iPhone, i'm not so sure. Sure iPhone will be tightly bound to iTunes, which is effectively a seperate platform to Macos as it's development is divorced from operating system since we got simultaneous releases on Windows.

    So what's out there on the rumor radar, that might be released by Oct?
    Here's a few:
    • Sub-notebook probably flash based
    • Tablets, this rumor will never die, will it. More likely an enlarged iPod, or macbook with tablet mode.
    • Touchscreen iMac

    I'm not precluding products being released earlier, The iMac, due a refresh real soon now, may come in a nice refreshed case, Santa Rosa and a GPU update. I just mean that multitouch capabilities may be one of the secret features, Jobs mentioned last WWDC. In order to deliver that, particularly on a portable platform, they'll want a thin light, battery friendly format. One facilitated by flash memory. They'll also want touchscreens bigger than most out there and certainly multi-touch on a commercial scale.

    Apple may be waiting for a price inflexion point in the Flash memory market. As many other analysts and bloggers have stated, Q4 is when they think laptops will start to ship with flash drives. Or Could be waiting on delivery of large scale multi-touch displays.

    Imagine Steve Jobs, standing up and saying they weren't going to update their laptops til Oct (one of their most profitable markets) because they were waiting on flash memory to hit the right price point. Think of the aapl dip after that statement. Better to say mac os (~$200M revenues) might slip a few months. No point in delivering leopard without the sexy new hardware to take advantage of the hottest new feature.

    Now you might think, if that's the case, the cat will be out of the bag in June (pun intended). But i think they can show off the features without really letting on that it's a hardware delay. There'll be a wink and a nod at the new features that imply updated hardware. But the perception it was all planned and not a detremental delay to their hardware business. Either that or they'll just show everything off but multi-touch, and try to keep it hidden til release day.

    This is all very blue sky thinking on my part and i encourage others to come up with their own theories. Post them here. I just don't think we're getting the full story regarding the delay.

    Phew, sorry about the massive post, had a couple of drafts, i just couldn't get it smaller.

    M. :)

    Note: If they don't have some deal worked out with Jeff Han, they should be in the process of buying his company "Perceptive Pixel".
  2. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    If Leopard is waiting for and, thus, dependent on new hardware, then that would make it incompatible with all the existing hardware. This is not something that Apple is going to do. Tablets have failed in the market, a large touch screen would be a pain to use, and there is nothing about a sub-notebook that requires a new operating system.

    Developers have been saying that there is work to be done on Leopard. Since there is no pressure from Vista to get a new version of OSX out, Apple can afford to take its time. Tiger works well enough. Sometimes the obvious can also be true.
  3. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    My guess is iPhone in June then hardware at the end of June, then Leopard - keep people buyig the latest and greatest over the whole summer.
  4. Mac-Addict macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2006
    Leopard is late because its late, Appke have a lot on their plate at the moment with the iPhone its not like sending out a new iPod, Apple have to completely write a new OS for the iPhone kink out bugs. And then theres leopard.. we don't know what Apple has to deal with because we haven't seen the top secret parts of it.
  5. diehldun macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2003
    If Leopard really does end up comming out in October, that would be a pity; a lot of my friends are actually putting off a back-to-school/college Mac purchase until Leopard comes out.

    I'm in that boat too. :(
  6. Vinnie_vw macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2005
    the Netherlands
    Then you're in a pickle, because Leopard coming out in October (or later!) is pretty guaranteed. I would buy now or in June. Leopard will work great on any hardware you buy a few months before as well :)
  7. Vinnie_vw macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2005
    the Netherlands
    In regards to the theory that Leopard is feature-complete by June, that may be true, but a lot, a lot of beta-testers of Leopard are convinced that the OS will not be bug-free by that time (or even October). So I don't think the issue is hardware-related, also because Leopard is backwards-compatible until G4s. I'm also pretty sure that flash-ware will not drop much from their multi-hundred dollar price-point for harddrives by that time.

    As far as Touchscreens are concerned, I'm as hopeful as you :)
  8. johnee macrumors 6502a


    It does take a long time to debug any software. The cycle is testing/discovery/analysis/fix - repeat.

    Testing software isn't easy and is not as efficient as testing hardware. Being a major OS, I would say it takes at least 2 months to fully qualify it from start to finish.
  9. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    i think making it so pc boxes couldnt get a copy is probably another big reason. they have to make it so it only works on macs unless they decide to change their business goals
  10. daveL macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2003
    Apple wouldn't hold up Leopard for hardware. New hardware would be supported by a point release (10.5.x).

    Personally, I think Apple gave a worst case release date when they said October.
  11. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Those that think Leopard has been delayed for 2 years are wrong.

    Remember the switch to Intel? Tiger had to be ported for Intel, that is a painful process to get all the bugs out.

    It has only been delayed this one time simply because they don't have enough sources on getting the iPhone out in time so they need to pull some people off of OSX Leopard to help them out and push thing this out the door by the time WWDC rolls by. The **** would hit the fan if Apple delayed the iPhone.
  12. MikeDTyke thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    It does take time to knock bugs on the head, i agree, but i'm not expecting leopard to be a complete or even significant rewrite of Tiger. There's 2 major API's CoreAnimation and TimeMachine, everything else is built on top.

    Let me repeat, it's not a Vista rewrite. The only thing software wise i can think of that would slow things significantly is an implementation of ZFS as the default boot drive for the operating system. I'm not sure even Apple is that bold.

    I'll take your judgement of 2 months to bang out the showstoppers. What're the developers doing with the other 3 months. Vacationing in St Barts?

    Just to clarify my point, i'm not suggesting my specific feature theory of multitouch hardware has much weight, i'm just suggesting the 4/5 months timeframe they've given themselves is very generous, my conviction is that there's more to it than iPhone.

    M. :rolleyes:
  13. MikeDTyke thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    Not incompatible with existing hardware, just they won't get the full experience. The same way you don't get the the full quartz experience with older G3's.

    I've been reading the outstanding buglists that Apple's been releasing. There's nothing in there even taken in their entirety that takes 4 months to sort out.

    If there's some massive new feature(s) that hasn't been dug up yet, then i'm prepare to believe that's what's holding it up, but for right now, they're being very generous. And no i'm including a replacement finder, resolution independence in that statement.

  14. wildthing1994 macrumors member


    Apr 8, 2007
    When it was anounced that leopard was delayed, did they give a date in october?
  15. Arnel macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Vancouver, BC
    I think you're vastly underestimating the amount of new stuff in Leopard, and the amount of time it'll take to test it all effectively. It's not just Core Animation and Time Machine, there's the whole 64-bit versions of all the APIs that need to be tested (to ensure that not only they work, but they behave properly with the 32 bit versions as well, seeing as the two can run side by side), iChat Theatre APIs, the Calendaring / ToDo store, a new Objective C runtime with garbage collection, new Cocoa classes to aid writing threaded apps, lots of new Quicktime stuff (it looks like some major work has been going on there)... the list goes on. If there's any "secret stuff", then that needs testing, too.

    Regardless of the fact that a lot of this may be built upon previous code, it still needs to be tested. And they need to test the old stuff too, to make sure nothing broke.

    It'll take more than two months to test and fix everything. Applying even the slightest fix means that you need to test everything again.

    On top of that, you also need to factor in around one month for production. It takes around three to four weeks to go from gold master to boxes on shelves.

    Four months (mid-June to mid-October) between beta and release isn't that long, especially for an operating system.
  16. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    A few weeks ago I called Leopard + Touchscreen iMac.

    After trying out a touchscreen HP computer, I realized that the usability problems that arose were because all the buttons were too small for my fingers to accurately press due to the high res screen. Leopard has respolution-independence, so this wouldn't be an issue...perfect for a touchscreen iMac or Tablet.
  17. Telp macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2007
    The fact that leopard is delayed to the iphone makes sense. They dont want to release two huge products at the same time. That would take away from either one and then there would be less sales then there should be. If it was for hardware, as already mentioned, it wouldnt be compatible with whats out now, and unlike Microsoft, Apple wouldnt do that.
  18. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Jobs said they have been using OS X on Intel chips since is was first made...there was no porting involved...OS X has always had an Intel verison. Maybe a few fixes so PPC apps would work well on an Intel Mac.

    Possible why Mac to Intel rumors were so popular, was that OS X could at any time been released on Intel machines with little problem.

    Also around the time of Apple starting to us the G5, I remember a email from some people in IBM, saying they were glad they kept Apple using PPC, and away from Intel.

    But to the OP...10.5 can't be waiting for new hardware, unless they plan to screw us all over! I honestly think its a combo of 1) iPhone 2) Apple being under staffed (for iPhone and OS X) 3) Apple never being able to release OS X 10.5 in time, and they blamed the iPhone so to avoid looking terrible.
  19. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    My guess is apple bit off more then they could chew with what they wanted to do with leopard and end up having to cut features left and right off the list (much like M$ had to do with Vista) so this caused delay after delay trying to get everything to work and in the end giving up. They blame the delay on the iPhone but in reality I think it because it had a lot of other delays behind it and using the iPhone is a good way to save some face because the iPhone was a hit and using that hit to cover up the fact that they been pulling features from leopard and it was behind where it need to be.

    Reason I believe this is because of apple huge lack of infomation on leopard and not really showing anything about it. Biggest difference here is Apple has not told the public what it planed on putting in leopard so they can do all this cutting behind closed doors.
  20. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Here is the deal. Vista is the issue. It was no way ready for prime time and MS's top brass wanted another year. Most of the core stuff was done, but they knew they would really not have a competitive product to Tiger. They also knew that Leopard was waiting in the wings to steal their thunder. But, after so many lengthy delays, they had to push something out the door.

    The plan then was to launch the early release and wait until May-June, when Leopard came out. They knew the could disguise Vista's early failure with the new PC purchase exploit. Make Vista the attractive option for all new PC sales. It would appear that Vista was selling well and was being received with 'open arms'. When Leopard was released, they would have three months to steal as many features as possible, do a little testing, and get SP1 'on the shelves' for the holiday season, and end of the fiscal cap X year for business.

    They have managed to copy the interface whistles and bells. They just do not know what to do with this stuff until someone shows them. ;)
  21. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Why not quit your job at MS and wake up? The rest of the world does not operate like you folk.
  22. DeathChill macrumors 68000

    Jul 15, 2005
    ^^^ Uh, what's wrong with what he said? I doubt that the iPhone was the only reason that Leopard was delayed and the fact that major features weren't announced DOES allow Apple to cut features without anyone complaining.

    I actually spoke with someone who was a programmer at Apple (and yes, it was verified not some random guy). He said that most of the staff weren't privvy tot this, but that EVERY build of EVERYTHING was compiled for both PowerPC and x86. When he asked why they compiled for x86 they said "Just to see if it works." However, he stressed to me that he was never acutally told that there was active x86 development, just that everything was compiled for both.
  23. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    explain to me how my theory is wrong. I would not be surprised if what I stated really was the case. Programing something as large as a huge OS update is a lot of work things do not go as planned. Leappad could easily of fallen to that problem require cuts.

    Just when apple never promised anything or told anyone about something in the OS it allows them to cut it from the OS with out the press going crazy or any one telling them that they suck like what happen when M$ cut things from Vista. Now Imogen if M$ never promised those things in Vista and they where cut. NO one would care or even know about it. Apple runs that way. They do not tell you what they are planning until it is near feature complete.
  24. Bern macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2004
    I doubt that. Apple aren't in the habit of downgrading what is effectively 1 year old hardware to "almost good enough" status for the sake of a point updated OS. That would be very M$ of them (aka Vista requires hardware upgrades to run effectively).

    All existing C2D Intel Macs will run the full gamut of features Leopard will have to offer, perhaps G3's will be out of the picture, but I very much doubt Apple will alienate all those millions of current Intel Mac users by making their hardware only partially OS 10.5 compatible.
  25. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    Not to mention the millions of G5 & G4 users... I hope...

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