Apple releases Leopard, or OS X 10.5, tomorrow, and already there are reviews galore. David Pogue in The New York Times does a good rundown of features (and undoubtedly will soon issue a weighty tome on the operating system) and Steven Levy has a chaotic video review (not embeddable, sorry) on the Newsweek site which proves he should probably stick with print.
These early reviews are mostly promotional, of course. Reviewers aren’t supplied the software (which is usually pre-release, remember) far enough ahead to provide time for a thorough treatment, a practice aimed partly at preventing them from finding a real bug or gotcha. For a real hoot, go back and look at the early reviews of Windows Vista, compared with the universal disdain today.
Whereas you’ll be able to buy the system tomorrow, I’m told at various outlets that you will not be able to purchase Macs with pre-installed Leopard tomorrow. Instead, there will be a three-week (or so) waiting period while Apple sells off remaining computers with the old system. Of course, this is pre-sale information. Apple has a knack, courtesy of the Barnumesque genius of Steve Jobs, for popping the unexpected on a product rollout.
What may happen is this: A new line of re-upped notebooks, Leopard-optimized, at prices slightly higher than their existing, non-Leopard counterparts. You decide on price. That accelerates both ends. Gotta-have types who want the new system will pay the premium, but people who figure hey, I can install it myself, will go for the suddenly “bargain-priced” units.
I’d go further and say this might be the time to bring out the long-rumored Apple “flash” Mac (in whatever configuration) — the diskless (that’s right, no CD or DVD) cross of the iPod with a full-keyboard Mac. But it may be too early for that, and in any case such an announcement would be a blow-off-the-doors coup that deserves showcase treatment rather than a Leopard-rollout afterthought.