Tech Check

Leopard's Delay Disappointing but not Catastrophic

Some perspective for what it's worth on Leopard's delay, since there will be tons of dire warnings about Apple flying off the tracks with such a crucial delay.

Apple usually unveils beta versions of new operating systems in connection with its Worldwide Developers Conference in SF in June. News today that the release of Leopard, the company's next-generation OS would be delayed until October is disappointing, but not catastrophic. Remember the series of delays Vista from Microsoft experienced.

But think of this as marginal, not necessarily material.

The bigger piece of news is that iPhone has passed a series of quality assurance tests and other technological benchmarks and the company says that it indeed will ship on schedule. It appears that iPhone is exceptionally important. So much so that Apple is taking members of the Leopard team and reassigning them to iPhone to make sure it gets out on time.

My sources continue to tell me that iPhone will be available June 12. Apple today says it will be released in "late June as scheduled." Look for the potential of an earlier release and news to that effect at the Apple Developer Conference which kicks off in SF on June 11.

Leopard's delay is a PR flap since Apple took great joy in capitalizing on the ongoing Vista delays. This is in no way comparable.

I found Piper Jaffrey's Gene Munster traveling in Beijing. We talked via cell phone and he told me that the delay accounts for 2 or 3% of earnings for every quarter it's delayed; essentially about 8 cents on every $3 in earnings.

Bad PR? Yes? Bad for profits? Not so much..

The more relevant news is the update on iPhone. And that's good news to keep watching.

Questions?  Comments?