Contrary to the rumor mill, Apple should release the next version of Mac OS X on time this spring, American Technology Research's Shaw Wu told his clients Monday.
Wu issued a research note spotted by AppleInsider that appears to respond to a report from Digitimes last week that said Apple would be delaying the new OS, code-named Leopard, until October to work on making its Boot Camp software compatible with Windows Vista. Wu said that his information indicates that Apple is almost ready to release Leopard into final-candidate stage, where it would be just around the corner from a public unveiling.
One interesting part of the note that could have accounted for the earlier rumor involves so-called "secret" features that Apple is reportedly building into Leopard. According to Wu, developers are getting a little anxious that they haven't been shown all the features of Leopard, and therefore haven't had enough time to test them out.
Wu thinks the undisclosed features could be support for virtualization software--like that from Parallels--that would let Mac users run both Windows and Mac OS X in the same environment, without having to shut down and reboot to switch between OSes as required by Boot Camp. Apple has said it doesn't plan to do full virtualization with Leopard--just Boot Camp--but CEO Steve Jobs sure does like his surprises.