Leopard Delay Rumors Unfounded?

Arik Hesseldahl

Last week’s rumor mill was punctuated by several versions of a tale saying that Leopard, the next version of Mac OS X, will be late. This type of rumor isn’t all that uncommon when a new OS is coming. About a week or so before that, the rumors were pointing in the opposite direction, saying that Leopard would be released sooner than previously thought.

Apple of course is never terribly specific about exactly when it expects to ship a new OS, for a reason. Schedules on projects as complex as a computer operating system have a funny way of slipping. But there’s word today from Shaw Wu, analyst at American Technology Research in San Francisco saying that the “late” rumors are off-base. Saying that “spring” technically lasts until June 20 – astronomically speaking anyway – there are three months left during which Apple could still deliver Leopard and have met its deliberately vague commitment to a spring release, meaning there’s still about three months to go.

Additionally Wu, citing his own sources, says that Apple appears to be “one or two builds away” from a final release candidate for Leopard.

One intriguing detail concerns an Apple-made virtualization technology, that would give Leopard the ability to run Windows (and presumably other operating systems) seamlessly from within the Mac OS X environment, something like what Parallels Inc. offers now. Adding such a feature – something that would have to be a big improvement over the current version of Boot Camp – would, Wu argues, serve as a “major catalyst for Mac sales.” I can’t help but agree that it would. But here’s another idea: Why not just use some of that $12 billion cash horde I keep talking about, and acquire Parallels entirely?

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