Mac OS X 10.5.7 enters beta; broadly seeded to devs

As Rumors has recently reported, the development of Mac OS X 10.5.7 has been proceeding at a slow but steady pace…and in the past few days, has crossed over into “beta” status with a new build that has been seeded to the full developer community.

Seeded to devs in a full distribution Apple Developer Connection (ADC) release earlier this week, Mac OS X 10.5.7 build 9J22 weighs in at a hefty 400MB (770MB for “Combo” version) and continues to grow in size at a blistering pace — particularly given the relatively small number of builds that have been made of 10.5.7 to date (a mere 22, apparently).

As usual, the OS X Server variant of the 10.5.7 package will be significantly larger and is expected to end up close to a full gigabyte in its Combo version.

This compares with 10.5.6 which weighs in at 372MB for Delta, 670MB for Combo, and 470/883MB respectively for the Server versions.

Since 10.5.6 contained very little code for new hardware (most hardware code was merely updated graphics drivers for existing Macs, a routine component of system updates) and had a final bug fix/change list not too much shorter than that expected for the final build of 10.5.7….this suggests that a significant portion of the size gains of 10.5.7 over 10.5.6 are specific to the aforementioned Core-i7-Mac support code. This, in turn, suggests that more than just two new i7-based Macs may be shipping before 10.5.8 or 10.6 can be completed….

Though focused almost exclusively on bug fixes, security tweaks and Sync functionality, 10.5.7 is also packed with support code for at least two new Macs — the forthcoming “25th Anniversary” iMacs with Intel “Nehalem” Core i7 chipsets (up to 4 cores/8 threads) due in mid March, and the next-generation Mac Pro built around “Gainestown” Core i7 Xeon chips (up to 16 cores/32 threads) expected to be announced in April and begin shipping in early May.

Given the sheer amount of support code for these machines, and the timing of it all….we believe that 10.5.7 will be in the beta phase for at least a few weeks — possibly up to a full month — and won’t be released until around the time of the iMacs’ actual shipping which we currently project to be in the third or fourth week of March.

Although that puts the release of 10.5.7 a matter of perhaps two months — or even less — behind the completion of Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” which we predict will be ready somewhere in the late June-mid-July timeframe, Rumors has repeatedly confirmed with reliable sources at Infinite Loop that 10.5.7 will *not* be the final version of Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard.”

Without a doubt, there will be a 10.5.8 release….and we currently expect it to drop either around the same time, or shortly after, the release of 10.6 “Snow Leopard.” Whether there will be any successive updates to 10.5 such as a 10.5.9 remains to be seen; we are conferring with sources but even Infinite Loop appears to have left a big fat question mark in its internal roadmaps on this one — apparently it depends on where 10.5.8 stands in terms of outstanding bugs or other necessary changes.

Most likely, we’re told, regardless of whether it’s 10.5.8 or 10.5.9 that ends up as the final version….either way, after September 1st the company’s software development roadmap shows the Leopard team shutting down in favor of Snow Leopard updates and the beginnings of work on 10.7 “Lion” which the same roadmap indicates will be the most feature-rich release of Mac OS X ever conceived….but that’s a story for another time.

Stay tuned for much more dirt on what’s next from Apple & the Mac/iDevice industry — got tips, rumors to share, want to ask a question or just have something to say? Email us at — and if you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@MacOSRumors) as well as the feed of our founder, Ryan C. Meader (@dalaixerces) and our parent company, the Media arm of Xerces EverythingWorks (@XercesDotCom)!

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