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Leopard gets off to spotty start

Apple postponing the launch of its newest operating system by 4 months.

Apple pushed back the launch of its upcoming operating system by four months last week, citing the need to move resources to the development of its iPhone.

The next version of Apple's Mac OS X operating system, codenamed Leopard, was scheduled for release at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June; it will now be released in October, to ensure that the iPhone meets its own delivery date in that month.

The firm admitted the decision to prioritise the iPhone's development over Leopard was a "trade-off" but said it was "sure we've made the right one".

"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 (quality assurance) resources from our Mac OS X team," Apple said in a statement.

Apple said it would provide a "near final" beta version of Leopard to developers at the conference.

Announced by CEO Steve Jobs at the company's Macworld exhibition in January, the iPhone is expected to be an important revenue driver for Apple when it is launched in June - emulating the success of its iPod device.

With rumours circulating that Apple had been in danger of failing to meet the iPhone's deadline, analysts supported the decision to prioritise it.