Delay Is OK

| Just a Thought

Recently the Sun darkened, puppies spontaneously burst into flames, and Paris Hilton offered her thoughts on quantum physics, and it made sense. The world has gone mad, I tell you. Mad!

Why?

Because Apple announced that they are delaying the release of its much anticipated OS X upgrade, Leopard, until October 2007.

Did you feel that? Even when I mention the new release date I can detect a subtle shift in the Earthis gravitational field.

Iim being ridiculously melodramatic, of course, but if you listen to the caterwauling around the Web youid think some of those things I mentioned actually happened.

The delay, claims Apple, is due to them focusing more engineering and quality assurance resources on iPhone. In doing so Apple has poked a pointy stick at a hornets nest.

Iim not sure people have taken some things into account so, lets take a look at situation at the 10,000 foot level.

High Stakes Hype

Apple in entering a new arena; the handheld mobile market. This is something that Apple fans have asked for since the demise of the Newton, though perhaps not in the guise of a cell phone, but we take what we can get. Whatis more, the hype around the iPhone is absolutely amazing. Cell phone, PDA, and mobile computer makers are carefully watching what happens when iPhone becomes available.

For Apple, the stakes are extremely high. The company has nurtured the perception that its products are a cut above, that Apple devices not only work and work well, but that they work so well that youill want to use them more.

The iPod did a lot to establish this image of Apple in the minds of consumers. Here is a little device that is so simple to use that anyone from 5 to 105 can use it without an instruction manual. It is easy to carry, easy to own, and do what youid expect of it. It is why the iPod enjoys a 70 + percent portable music player market share, and itis a tough act to follow.

If Apple fails with the iPhone the resulting fallout could affect Mac and iPod sales, sort of "The iPod Halo Effect" in reverse.

Alone In A Colosseum

The cellphone market is a tough arena. This is a market where product life-cycles are measured in months. Walk into any cell phone store and youill see a dizzying array of devices that literally do everything and let you make phone calls. Walk into the same store two months from now and many of the devices have changed; newer models, better features, cheaper prices keep this market in a crazy flux.

If you are like me then you change your cell phone every 12 to 24 months as your contracts expire. Apple is looking to provide a device that youill want to hold onto for a bit longer than that.

Also, mobile phone carriers see the iPhone as a possible game changer. Instead of trying to maintain a constantly changing inventory the iPhone suggests that users will hold on to their devices and just add features; features equals more money, and they like more money.

Consequently, cell phone makers will have to change their marketing strategy as well, perhaps by reducing the number of models they offer and charging more for the one they do offer.

Why Not Hire More People?

It takes time to acclimate people to the way a company does business, and you donit stick new people in at the rear end of a project. The current Apple engineers and quality folks are, at this moment and quite literally, the only people on the planet who can do what they do, in the way that they do it.

A lot is riding on the iPhone. Of the two projects, it is the riskier one and it needs special attention to make sure that when it is released, the iPhone approaches the hype, and possibly exceeds expectations.

Taken In This Context...

... it is not hard to see why Jobs and crew decided on the delay.

So, sidestep the exploding puppies, itis not the end of the world, Apple isnit evil, Leopard will show its spots, and the iPhone will be a good thing.

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