Apple expands Leopard training to all of AppleCare

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Pressing ahead with plans to release its long-awaited Leopard operating system by the end of the month, Mac maker Apple Inc. on Thursday expanded training of its technical support representatives to include all tiers both Stateside and abroad.

As of the early afternoon hours, AppleCare technical support staff across the globe were instructed to follow prescribed training modules on several of Leopard's most essential components, according to people familiar with the matter.

These now include Tier 1 AppleCare technicians in addition to the Tier 2 technicians that were offered a head start via self-paced training modules earlier in the week.

Thus far, Apple has supplied the support reps with four initial training modules covering installation,, Parental Controls and Boot Camp. The Cupertino-based company plans to rapidly expand its Leopard training to cover several other system components in the coming days.

Apple's internal plans continue to call for an official launch of Leopard at 6:00 p.m. on Friday Oct 26th. In recent days, the company has become more vocal in conveying this message to its top-tier partners without explicitly stating the date outright incase it is unable to meet that deadline.

For instance, Apple has essentially told some partners that the software is still "expected to ship in October" and that the company likes to ship its major operating system releases "on a Friday" and hinted to later rather than sooner.

Still, recent evidence suggested the software was still under active internal development as of Wednesday due to a handful of bugs Apple hoped to fix last minute.

Leopard will retail for $129 for the single license edition and $199 for the 5-seat family edition.