“Microsoft’s Windows Vista may be getting all the buzz, but it’s not the only operating system update that will hit store shelves this year,” Troy Wolverton reports for The San Jose Mercury News. “This spring, Apple plans to release Leopard, the fifth revision of its rival Mac OS X software. As with previous updates, Leopard will add a number of new features to the operating system… could prove important for Apple. In recent years, the company has made much of the differences between the Mac OS and Windows. Macs are more stable, more secure and easier to use, the company has repeatedly told potential customers.”

Wolverton reports, “Consumers appear to be listening. In recent quarters, Apple has repeatedly gained share in the PC market with its growth rates outpacing that of the broader industry. Meanwhile, more than half of all Macintosh computers sold in the United States are being bought by consumers who are new to the platform, either because they’ve switched from Windows or have never owned a computer before, CEO Steve Jobs said at Macworld.”

“‘Some people may say Vista is close enough (to the Mac OS), and that’ll be good enough for me,’ said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst who covers the PC industry for research firm IDC,” Wolverton reports.

“Apple has said little about Leopard since Jobs previewed the operating system update at the company’s developer conference in San Francisco last August. And even then, Apple gave little away about the new software. In fact, Jobs at the time said he was withholding some key new features of the operating system for fear Microsoft might try to put them into Vista before it launched,” Wolverton reports. “Still, some of the features he did show could help set it apart from Vista.”

Wolverton reports, “The analysts and developers who have played around with Leopard have been impressed by its new features, many of which represent a significant advance over what’s in Vista, said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, a Campbell-based high-tech consulting firm. The problem right now is that consumers don’t know about Leopard or what it will offer, he said. ‘The marketing burden is on Apple’s shoulders,’ Bajarin said. ‘Apple needs to seize the moment and start drawing attention to OS X Leopard.'”

Wolverton reports, “Some analysts even think Vista’s launch could even be an opportunity for Apple. To run the full version of Vista, many consumers will need to buy new, more powerful computers. Since they’re already in the market for a computer, such consumers may be easier to convince to look at what Apple has to offer, said Bajarin.”

More in the full article here.

Mac OS X Leopard Sneak Peek: http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/index.html

Related MacDailyNews articles:
CNET Reviews Windows Vista: Is that all? Clunky and not very intuitive vs. Mac OS X; warmed-over XP – January 24, 2007
Security firm: 38-percent of malware already Windows Vista-compatible – January 22, 2007
Mossberg: Microsoft’s Windows Vista offers lesser imitations of Apple’s Mac OS X features – January 18, 2007
Windows Vista disappointment drives longtime ‘Microsoft apologist’ to Apple’s Mac OS X – January 17, 2007
InformationWeek Review: Apple’s Mac OS X shines in comparison with Microsoft’s Windows Vista – January 06, 2007
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Microsoft’s Windows Vista: ‘Looks, Locks, Lacks’ – December 14, 2006
Forbes: Microsoft Windows Vista boss suffers from Mac envy – December 12, 2006
Windows chief Allchin 2004 email: I’d buy a Mac if I didn’t work for Microsoft – December 11, 2006
Unlike Microsoft’s Windows Vista, Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard will create no new jobs – December 12, 2006
15-year Windows vet tries Apple Mac: ‘My God! This is amazing!’ – December 04, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista: obsolete on arrival? – December 04, 2006
InformationWeek: Now that Vista is the past, let’s look at the future: Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard – December 02, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Office 2007 releases generate yawns – December 02, 2006
Dave Winer: ‘Microsoft isn’t an innovator, and never was – they are always playing catch-up’ – December 01, 2006
Harvard Medical School CIO picks Mac OS X over Linux and Windows – November 30, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista vulnerable to malware from 2004 – November 30, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista developers used Apple Macs for inspiration – November 27, 2006
A Windows expert opts for a Mac life – November 06, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista is basically Microsoft’s version of Mac OS 9.3 – October 11, 2006
Embrace and Extinguish in action: TechIQ’s ‘The VAR Guy’ dumps Windows, switches to Mac OS X – September 25, 2006
Top Windows developer dumps Microsoft’s ‘pile of crap’ for Apple’s Mac OS X – September 12, 2006
$399 for Windows Vista Ultimate?! (Hint: Get a Mac) – August 29, 2006
Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard is 64-bit done right, unlike Microsoft’s Windows Vista kludge – August 14, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista: If you can’t innovate… try to impersonate Apple’s Mac OS X – August 10, 2006
Analyst: Apple’s new Mac OS X Leopard sets new bar, leaves Microsoft’s Vista in the dust – August 08, 2006
Microsoft botches another copy job: Windows Vista Flip3D vs. Apple Mac OS X Exposé – June 26, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald Tech columnist dumps Microsoft Windows, switches to Apple Mac – June 13, 2006
Windows Vista rips-off Mac OS X at great hardware cost (and Apple gains in the end) – June 13, 2006
Computerworld: Microsoft Windows Vista a distant second-best to Apple Mac OS X – June 02, 2006
Thurrott: Microsoft going to get eaten alive over Windows Vista’s resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – March 09, 2006
NY Times’ Pogue on Gates’ CES demo: Most of Vista features unadulterated ripoffs from Apple Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Analyst: Windows Vista may still impress many consumers because they have not seen Apple’s Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Apple’s talent and innovation vs. Microsoft’s hype – October 25, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Vista strives to deliver what Apple’s Mac OS X already offers – October 10, 2005
Thurrott: many of Windows Vista’s upcoming features appeared first in Apple’s Mac OS X – September 26, 2005
Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X – September 18, 2005
PC World: Microsoft innovation – an oxymoron – September 14, 2005
As usual, Apple leads, Microsoft tries to follow – June 02, 2005
Bye-Bye Bill: another columnist dumps Windows for Apple Macintosh – January 20, 2005
Orlando Sentinel writer dumps Windows for Mac and writes ‘God bless Apple’ – January 16, 2005
IBM Fellow dumps Microsoft Windows XP, switches to Apple’s Mac OS X – September 02, 2004