Apple’s spokes-choir blames the delay of one highly anticipated product for the delay of another highly anticipated product

[I added the video on the left because I thought the “booms” were especially appropriate to accompany this post. (via: MG Siegler)]

Apple is saying the next version of its operating system, Leopard, will ship four months late, now in October. Why the delay? In the official announcement, the following appears: “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.”

That a cell-phone would be deemed more critical to the bottom line of Apple than the next generation of the operating system further underscores the appropriateness of the company dropping “Computer” from its name.

Statement from Apple as it appears on Apple.com’s Hot News:

“iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned. We can’t wait until customers get their hands (and fingers) on it and experience what a revolutionary and magical product it is. However, 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, and 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. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we’re sure we’ve made the right ones.

I have a question: Who the heck is making that statement? Read all of those personal pronouns: “We can’t wait…” “We had to borrow…” “We cannot deliver…” “Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we’re sure we’ve made the right ones.” Recently, Steve Jobs issued “some thoughts” (I called it an Apple papal bull) that blasted the DRM requirements required by record labels. At least then, the statement had someone stating it. Perhaps somewhere there exists a version of the statement that is attributed to someone other than the “corporate we,” but without such attribution — as it now appears on Apple’s “Hot News,” it seems like a building is talking. And in the “official press release,” no one is quoted either. Is there a choir of Apple employees who stand out by the street in Cuppertino and recite these “personal plural statements” in unison: is that why it says, “We.” Who do they think they are, Dave Barry?

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  • Hudge

    >it seems like a building is talking.
    further underscores the appropriateness of the name change.

  • Andy Axel

    So long as Adobe doesn’t slip their April 20 ship date for CS3, I’m willing to wait on OSX.5

  • Ha ha nice. Think I’ll embed it in the bottom of my post as well. I think Steve wanted to go more for the opposite of a “And boom” today…but what is the opposite? Perhaps it’s releasing a statement on your tiny Hot News page…

  • tf

    “That a cell-phone would be deemed more critical to the bottom line of Apple than the next generation of the operating system further underscores the appropriateness of the company dropping “Computer” from its name.”

    I don’t see how. We’re talking about delaying a couple hundred million of revenue by a few months in a market already well-served by Tiger (and which may also free up hardware releases that were being scheduled around Leopard’s release) versus delaying revenue orders of magnitude greater in a new market. Delaying the iPhone would be a greater financial concern or its bugginess could present real risk to its adoption at all.

    Seems like a purely financial decision.

    It’s not as if this PR confirms that 80% of Apple’s workforce is working on the iPhone and iPod soley. (I would wager that the bulk of their staff are working on apps (FCP, Shake, Logic, Aperture, iLife, iWork, iTunes, etc…) and a small, core team is developing Leopard which is fundamental to the Mac, iPhone, iTV, and probably future iPods. I see no confirmation that Apple is moving away from development of its OS or support of the Mac.

  • I read the tone as trying to be more “conversational” and informal in the world where companies try to put the human voice to the company. Of course, this smacks directly opposite of Apple’s “no individual” external face.

    The only person that is ever associated with Apple in the broad sense is SJ. Apple will never make the “mistake” Microsoft did with Scoble…allow a single person to become the recognizable representative of the company that people connect with, only to allow him to leave and take that with him. Scoble’s power was his true excitement for what was going on, balanced with an bit of self critisism (where ‘self’ was Microsoft). When he left, he left a hole. He took something with him.

    Shortly after SJ returned to the helm of Apple, he mandated that all “About _____” panels remove individual names. The products were the result of the company, not the individual, and it was to be represented that way.

    What do they do when they want to publish something “open and honest” and Steve doesn’t want his name on it? They do what they did… they make it sound like the company is a person…the collective “we”? It does result in a strange sounding statement. I expect more companies to try this now that Apple has done it once.