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Apple delays Leopard release until October


Apple Inc. on Thursday conceded that it will be unable to release its next generation operating system in June as previously planned and now says it anticipates launching the software in October.

In a statement released after the close of the stock market, Apple said its highly anticipated iPhone handset 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," Apple said. "However, 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."

While Leopard's features will be complete by June, the Cupertino-based company said it cannot deliver the quality release expected by its customers within that time. Apple now plans to show its developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship the software in October.

"We think it will be well worth the wait," the company added. "Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones."

The move by Apple to delay its next-generation operating system roll-out confirms suspicions first raised by AppleInsider in an early March, when we reported that the number of pending issues with the software was unusual for an Apple product nearing its release deadline. (A large portion of the report was removed from AppleInsider at the demand of Apple Legal.)

In releasing the latest developmental build of Leopard this week, Apple was seemingly unable to chip away at the majority of the critical issues affecting the software. In fact, the number of issues appeared to have swelled from the build released in early March.

Rumors that Apple would be forced to delay the release of Leopard first gained some attention in late March when Taiwanese rumor site DigiTimes reported that the company would push the release out to October. The report, however, was largely discounted when Apple issued a statement to one analyst vehemently denying any such delay.