by Tom Kaneshige

Getting Burned with Apple Product Launches

Jun 15, 20092 mins
Enterprise Applications

Snow Leopard OS and iPhone 3G S shed light on Mac engineers' frustration over Apple secrecy with product launches.

One Mac engineer said she won’t be getting the new iPhone 3G S because she had just bought an iPhone 3G last November and doesn’t plan to pay the high AT&T upgrade cost. 

Another Mac aficionado told me her new MacBook arrived last Monday—the day prices were lowered. “Do I get a rebate?” she asks. “I have such bad timing.”

That’s just the way the technology tumbleweed rolls, especially with Apple whose secrecy about new product launches has spawned a cottage industry for rumors. You just can’t plan your next purchase without the chance of getting burned with an Apple upgrade. For consumers, it’s no doubt frustrating. For businesses, it’s impossible.

Mac engineers supporting a bunch of Mac machines likely didn’t get Snow Leopard early to test and certify it in their environments. They’ll have to work around the clock with Snow Leopard and figure out a way to support the OS before execs clamor for the latest Apple gear.

Many companies will have to support a mixed Apple environment: Snow Leopard on Intel machines inside a PowerPC G5 population. Given budgetary concerns, though, there probably won’t be a significant adoption of new Apple machines despite price cuts.

New Apple features may be alluring to some companies, but poor timing can stall purchases. “We are looking forward to the expanded Active Directory integration,” says a Mac engineer, “but limitations within our environment may prevent a uniform implementation of that feature.”

Even with the iPhone, companies must wait for new developments which may or may not come. One company doesn’t formally support the iPhone as a messaging device and so it hopes that Good Technology comes out with a Good Messaging client for the iPhone. Even better, although extremely unlikely, would be RIM coming out with a Blackberry client app for the iPhone.

Consumers and companies alike are kept guessing about the next Apple products and apps. While Apple secrecy and rumors keep many consumer enthusiasts giddy with anticipation, Mac engineers shake their heads. “At the level of my position, we can’t afford to be fangirls or fanboys,” a Mac engineer says.

Have you been burned by an untimely Apple product launch? Send me an email at Or follow me on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline.