Microsoft announced last week that the next version of its Windows operating system – dubbed Windows 95 – would be delayed until August of this year, postponing its release date another six months. This version of Windows was originally announced in 1993 and set to ship in mid 1994. Last summer, Microsoft moved the ship date to early 1995 and now we’re looking at the third quarter of 1995. One can’t help but wonder if some marketers in Redmond aren’t seriously regretting the product’s naming scheme.
On the heels of this announcement, members of the computing industry press contacted Apple to inquire about the ship date of the next version of the Macintosh operating system, code-named Copland (see TidBITS-256). Apple responded by confirming what (apparently) everyone at Apple knew except marketing and management: Copland will not ship until (at least) mid 1996. Until that point, Apple representatives and marketing had been insistent that the PowerPC version of Copland would ship in 1995. However, some in contact with Apple through informal channels (as well as developers attending closed-door conferences in Cupertino) report that no one working hands-on in the Copland effort had any illusions about shipping in 1995. Apple representatives speculated that individual components of Copland might be broken out and shipped before the entire OS, but they declined to be specific.
What does this mean for the more immediate future? For one thing, it means the introduction of new OS components with Marconi – such as OpenDoc and Open Transport – becomes more important to Apple in order to generate developer support for these technologies. It also means Apple cannot as easily link support for future hardware improvements to Copland. Look for support of new hardware standards – PCI, FireWire, 64-bit SIMMs, new PowerPC CPU chips, as well as MovieTalk, video conferencing, and 3-D graphics – to be delivered well before Copland. This slip may also endanger Apple ever releasing a full version (or any version) of Copland for 68000 Macs.