Rumors of OS X 10.9's "delay" are unfounded

Rumors of OS X 10.9's "delay" are unfounded

Recently the blogosphere has begun to coalesce around a common idea: OS X 10.9 is going to be delayed. Balderdash, I say. OS X 10.9 isn't delayed, because Apple hasn't announced a ship date for it. In fact, Apple hasn't said much publicly about iOS 7 or OS X 10.9, except a passing comment from Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, who mentioned that Apple would "get new versions of iOS and OS X" into the hands of developers at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco in June.

A month ago John Gruber told readers of his Daring Fireball blog that Apple had pulled engineers off OS X projects and reallocated them to iOS 7, instead. More recently some industry analysts, pundits and mainstream media journalists covering the Apple beat have spun Gruber's earlier comments, which explains the popular momentum towards a "delay" with OS X 10.9.

Accepting on face value for the moment that Apple has reallocated engineering resources from OS X to iOS, it makes perfect sense: iOS is the company's main source of revenue right now, and it should be the primary focus of the company's software engineers.

It's also not a very big deal: Apple engineering is task-focused. Apple management can easily and quickly redeploy a team to a higher-priority project without sacrificing efficiency.

I've seen some editorials concerned about the reallocation, assuming that this will be a repeat of Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard's" release, when Leopard was legitimately delayed for months: Apple had already announced plans in 2007 to release 10.5 at WWDC, then in April abruptly changed its mind, citing development of the then-nascent iPhone as the reason for the delay. Leopard did ship in 2007, but it went from June to late October.

After Leopard was released, Apple released two updates to the Mac operating system every other summer: Snow Leopard appeared in 2009 and Lion appeared in 2011. Then in February 2012, Schiller told Gruber during a clandestine meeting in New York that Apple was switching to an annual release schedule for OS X. Mountain Lion followed that summer, and the expectation remains that Apple will release another big cat in 2013.

Understand that Apple was in a profoundly different place in 2007. At that point, the Mac was Apple's revenue generator. iPhone was brand new. It was a major engineering initiative for the company. Apple has had six years to improve its internal processes.

If that's the case, why would Apple pull engineers off of OS X to work on iOS? Last autumn Tim Cook made significant changes to Apple's senior management with the ouster of Scott Forstall and the appointment of Jony Ive as head of Human Interface. iOS 7 wasn't created out of whole cloth under Ive's watch - software development at Apple exists in a continuum - and sources say there's a lot that Ive wants to adjust and retool before putting in the hands of developers in June.

What's more, Mountain Lion has been a fairly stable release, and Mac users (and people in the financial sector who track Apple's efforts) aren't clamoring for a lot of changes. Customers are clearly expecting changes on the hardware side - anticipation is running high for more Macs with Retina displays, for example, based on our recent poll. But it seems that at least part of Apple's focus with 10.9 will be to shore up "power user" features, as opposed to the significant UI changes Ive is allegedly spearheading for iOS.

So whether OS X 10.9 will ship this summer or this fall, it shouldn't matter to the Macintosh's bottom line. And fall seems likely, based on Tim Cook's own comments during Apple's quarterly earnings call last month.

"Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014," Cook said.

Until then, enjoy your Mac the way it is.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

Rumors of OS X 10.9's "delay" are unfounded

18 Comments

Interesting Peter. If they pulled engineers off OSX to work on IOS who exactly would be filling in to do the work on OSX? Doesn't it make sense that it would delay the OSX development if engineers are working on IOS instead? Seems obvious to me, unless they were way ahead on OSX which is doubtful.

Delayed in what sense? It could be running behind internal schedules, but what does that mean to mainstream consumers?

The point is you can't delay something that hasn't been announced. Whether or not they've reallocated resources from OS X to iOS isn't the issue.

can't delay something that hasn't been announced yet? if they planned on having it ready for the summer-regardless of whether they announced it or not- and they decided to push the release date back for whatever reason.. then it's delayed. Why is that so hard to understand and accept? delays can be required to make sure the product they are working on is not released half baked. No shame in that at all! even for a company like apple!

I don't get why you guys have to try to excuse whatever the company does... we all make mistakes and we don't always have things go as planned.

Funny thing is, Apple never said that it would be ready for a certain time, they haven't even announced any new OS version yet. Therefore, it isn't delayed.

I completely agree with you, this article doesn't make any sense and its stupidity is almost funny. Obviously Apple internally sets dates on which it expects and strives to release their products, so when that date gets delayed because they failed to simply have it finished by then it's a delay, simple as that. Why do you have to write an article about why it's not a 'delay' because it's not announced to the public yet? Are you really that ignorant and blind to come up with some random theory to 'protect' Apple? Delays happen in every company and there's no shame in not being on schedule once in a while.

I read this blog daily but articles like this make me not want to visit this website anymore..

You guys are playing the semantics game. But don't think for a second that apple, in their internal meetings, isn't using the word delay when it comes to OSX. I'm not saying its a catastrophe, like some are eluding to, but it is more of an issue with resources. People that are defending apple tooth and nail always point to $145B in cash yet they don't seem to have enough resources to execute the mobile OS and the Mac OS at the same time. At least for what they want to get done this time around. So I don't think it's a huge deal but it does make me wonder how this happens.

I agree, there are no such delays, some folks are assuming things that have no solid evidence behind it.

For me, I don't think 10.9.x is going to be delayed but rather it is going to be a smaller release than usual because of the lack of full engineering resources on it, of which I understand.

However, for customers not asking for a lot of changes, well, I kind of have to disagree on that end. I've heard a lot of complaints about 10.8, not from Internet but from real life experiences.

1. Performance could be much better on rMBPs, ML improved a lot since Lion but not enough. People are expecting 10.9 to do the same. A few examples: bug-ridden Safari, the Window resizing stutters, the slow performance loading the apps when showing the stack on the dock and etc.

2. Crappy Multi-Monitor capability, a LOT of folks are asking Apple to fix it by allowing them to run two full app screens or just two spaces. Yes, they know they could just zoom the apps to take up most of the screen and have them running on both monitors but they still want two full screen apps or one full screen app and one space where they could do things. Like monitoring emails, IMs on one monitor while working in a full screen app on the other monitor.

This isn't a big deal because it is a small market of folks who have dual monitors but it is a change they want from OS X now.

3. iCloud issues are still biggies. Apple seriously need to make it less PITA for developers to work with. They only improve it in each OS X and iOS releases, not .x.x updates.

4. Some folks are expecting iWork updates because recently it's been linked to OS X releases.

And many more like this. People just want improvements to several services and OS X features, they're okay with less new features but not lack of improvements to what they already have in ML.

Fart.app for OS X. I'm telling you now, that's the hold up. I have confirmation from my sources in IndoChinawanico, including blurry as shit photos of screencaptures of the code.

It seems like you are just recontextualizing the rumors with semantics. If apple has an internal timeframe/feature sheet that is being pushed back, that constitutes a delay. Now I'm sure that happens all the time and that we rarely know about it or talk about it or care about it. But if it is significant enough (and it seems to be since everybody is talking about it), then the delay might be worth discussion.

Unless you chuckleheads have some evidence showing a release date from inside Apple or confirmed by an on-the-record source, you're talking out of your collective asses.

The release date is summer. That is a fact that Phil Schiller shared last year. If they release a stripped update or release in the fall then it was delayed. I'll never understand why some people can't accept that they delay, strip out stuff, release stuff that isn't ready etc. Some of you take it like someone is insulting your family.

So as long as there's a release by September 22 of this year, it's still on time then, yes? Words do have actual meanings.

Yes, yes.... Words do have meaning. Apparently you didn't read mine, or at least cherry picked what you wanted to out if it to make your slanted point. If they release less than they internally planned to release, would you say that they DELAYED features because they didn't have enough time to finish them? Could it be they didn't have time because they were pulling engineers off to work on ios?

My last post in this topic, imore is starting to be too much of an apologist for my liking. Used to be straight reporting, opinions, etc... Now it just seems to be feeding into the apple fan base. As a shareholder of aapl I would appreciate more realistic reporting and information.

Over and out....

Agree Peter. And even if 10.9 ships later than Apple might have wanted, it makes little or no difference if it doesn't affect the release of new hardware.