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Friday, March 23, 2007, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

DigiTimes: Apple may delay Leopard release till October

Apple Inc. may postpone the launch of its next-generation Leopard operating system in order to bolster dual boot support for rival Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista operating system, DigiTimes reported on its website on Friday.

The Taiwanese trade publication cited "industry sources" in saying the launch delay is not due to software design problems with Leopard but instead is attributed to Apple's plan to have its new OS support Windows Vista through an integrated version of Boot Camp.

"Boot Camp is an Apple software application that currently assists in the installation of Windows XP on computers using Apple's latest OS," the publication said. "The company hopes with support for Vista, Mac computers using the new OS can grab more market share, according to the sources."

DigiTimes, whose accuracy in predicting Apple's future directions is mediocre at best, cited its sources in saying that if Leopard supports only Windows XP, then the chances of the new OS attracting Windows users to buy an Apple computer decreases.

For its part, Apple has maintained that it is on track to ship Leopard "this Spring." However, recent developer releases have raised suspicion over whether the Cupertino-based company will be able to meet that self-imposed deadline, as a number of critical issues reportedly remain in the software.

Apple has also stated that it holds some "top secret" Leopard features at bay, which haven't been exposed to widespread testing. It's widely believed that the company would first have to introduce those secret functionalities in developer builds before calling development of Leopard a wrap.

AppleInsider reiterates that DigiTimes' coverage of Apple has been historically inaccurate and therefore its reports should be taken with a grain of salt. Of note, however, the publication's recent predictions that Apple would use LED-backlit displays in its next-generation MacBook Pro line is believed to be accurate.