Apple Inc. has released its new operating system, better known as Leopard, an OS that Apple promises customers and resellers is even more user-friendly, intuitive and stable than before.
Leopard’s launch came at the end of last month and its release, Apple notes, took longer than originally anticipated. Mary Percat, national reseller sales manager for Apple Canada, explains Apple typically releases a new OS about once every 18 months. Leopard’s launch, she says, comes after the previous launch of its pre-Leopard OS Version 10.4, also known as Tiger over two years ago.
“The launch was a little bit later than what was expected because some of the resources that were required for Leopard had to be redeployed for the launch of the iPhone,” Percat said.
Apple advertises the new OS as having more than 300 changes and these changes says Willi Powell, strategic development manager at Apple Canada, are what make this OS more simple and intuitive than those previously released. This in turn, he says, is what will also help Apple resellers more effectively sell and deploy Leopard.
For current Tiger users wishing to upgrade to Leopard, Powell says there are certain system requirements to be met. These include having a Mac computer with an Intel PowerPC G5 processor, or a PowerPC G4 with an 867 MHz or faster processor. Apple also requires and recommends at least 512 MB of RAM and a DVD drive to complete the installation process. For some features of Leopard, Powell says there are additional requirements depending on which programs users would also like to install.
“Our customers are getting this and they want to make the update,” he said. “We had 10 per cent of our customer base move to Leopard in just two days.”
This release of Leopard is a great opportunity for Apple resellers, Percat says, because consumers are always looking for the latest, greatest and most current product that Apple has.
“For the channel, it’s an excuse to talk to your customer. Any new product that comes out is always a good thing because it also increases revenue,” Percat said.
Powell recommends resellers increase their points of entry to market and their revenue opportunities by really understanding where the value of Leopard and its features for their end-users lie.
“Resellers can always sell value-added services around the sale,” Powell said. “Maybe they could offer set up advice, parental controls, consultative advice, support or even servicing. Resellers need to sit down and look at their customer base to see what features in Leopard will help trigger the sale.”
Some of the new features in Leopard include stacks, a dock item feature that gives users quick and easy access to files and folders on their computer. When a stack is clicked, files pop-up in a sort of fan or grid model for users to see. Apple has also introduced a feature called Quick Look, where the entire contents of a file can be viewed without a user opening it. Another feature is Time Machine, which automatically backs up files, applications, music, photos and documents in case of system failure.
“Resellers should be asking if users are backing up their computers,” Powell said. “They should recommend Leopard and its built in backup so users don’t lose anything.”
Leopard is currently available through all of Apple’s channels including online, direct, national retail stores and through Apple resellers. For the channel, Percat says Apple offers both end-user and reseller training and support.
“We have everything available to the channel, from our online dealer training, to our [senior executives] going to do onsite training,” Percat said. “We also have a channel camp, which is a three to five day technical training course.”
In addition to a wide array of educational and technical training, Percat also says resellers will be pleased with Apple’s ample margins that, she says, sit comfortably in the double digit range.
As for future releases of the Apple OS, Powell is staying mum on the direction Apple is heading.