Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the next version of Apple's Mac OS X operating system, has been finished and is being prepared for release later this month - if a number Apple-centric websites are to be believed.

According to AppleInsider, Apple finalised Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard this week and has begun preparing training materials for its technical support staff.


Rival site MacRumors, however, claimed late Tuesday that its sources reported that the latest Leopard builds are "still progressing" within Apple, and that the operating system has not been officially declared done.

Most Web sites and blogs that have cited unnamed sources in the last few days have pegged Leopard's release date as October 26, the last Friday of the month. To bolster that date, pundits pointed out that Apple also rolled out the iPhone on the last Friday of June, and launched the previous Mac OS X, Tiger, on the last Friday in April 2005.

Analysts remain confident that Apple will meet the October deadline it set for Leopard's launch when it announced in mid-April it had to delay the operating system to shift programmers to iPhone development.

Although it's not slated to ship until later this month, Leopard can be pre-ordered at resellers such as Amazon, which has priced the OS at $129. Buyers take note: Amazon lists the release date for Leopard as October 31.

As for the company itself, it's kept mum on a release date so far.

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