Short Shrift for the Mac

In January, Apple Computer, Inc. announced it was changing its name to Apple, Inc. –no “Computer” — and got into the cell-phone business when Steve Jobs demonstrated the iPhone.

The iPhone may look like a scaled-down version of the Macintosh, but Apple says we will not be allowed to write programs or install third-party software on the iPhone. Customers will also be unable to select their cellular carrier — iPhone buyers are locked into a two-year contract with Cingular.

Today, Apple delayed the promised spring release of the next version of Mac OS X until October because of iPhone:

Apple on Thursday released a statement noting that Mac OS X v10.5 “Leopard” won’t be released until October. The cause of the delay? The iPhone.

“iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned. We can’t wait until customers get their hands (and fingers) on it and experience what a revolutionary and magical product it is,” reads a statement published by the company.

Getting the iPhone ready for its June launch has had an unintended consequence, however: QA and “some key software engineering” resources allocated to Mac OS X needed to be diverted from their work to finish the iPhone. As a result, Apple won’t release Leopard at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, as it had first planned.

Shades of Microsoft’s oft-delayed “Longhorn,” now finally shipping as Windows Vista.

I’m guessing that as October approaches, Leopard will be delayed until 2008.