Apple delays Leopard OS until October, blames iPhone

'We think it will be well worth the wait,' the company says

Apple Inc. said today it won't release Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard," the next version of its operating system, by mid-June as planned, blaming the delay on the iPhone.

In a statement posted to its own hot news page, Apple said that it borrowed some key software engineering and quality assurance resources from its OS X team in order to keep the iPhone on track to ship in June. As a result, the company won't release Leopard as planned at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which takes place June 11-15 in San Francisco.

"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," Apple said in its statement. "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 then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us," the company said.

Instead, Apple said it will show off a near-final version of the OS at the conference in early June and give developers there a beta copy to take home with them. The final version of Leopard should ship in October.

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

While unconfirmed rumors recently pegged the iPhone shipping date as June 11, Apple now says the device will ship in late June.

Apple announced the iPhone earlier this year, unleashing a frenzy of anticipation among end users and competitors in the mobile phone sector. The phone will come with a touch screen and a music player.

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