For as long as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been setting -- and missing -- schedules, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been announcing and simultaneously shipping its biggest breakthroughs. Until recently, that is.

Enter the so-called iTV, which was announced at the Worldwide Developer Conference in September, and due to ship this month as the newly dubbed Apple TV. "Was" is the key word here.

On Monday, an Apple spokesperson told the Reuters news agency that the company would have to delay shipping of the product -- which aims to wirelessly deliver downloaded videos, music, and photos from your computer to your TV -- until mid-March. Apple gave no reason for the postponement.

That's fine. Delays happen, especially when the forthcoming product is groundbreaking. For the Mac maker, Apple TV is exactly that.

Still, Apple shouldn't get a pass here. Two weeks ago an Apple spokesperson told that Apple TV was on schedule, despite plenty of circumstantial evidence to the contrary. Macworld UK, for example, had reported that its request for a test unit of the Apple TV wouldn't be fulfilled till March. Meanwhile, those ordering the product online were being given a ship date of Feb. 28.

Now, with one day left in the month, Apple says it won't ship the Apple TV before mid-March, and it won't give a reason for the delay. Well, duh.

Remember this when you next decide to mock Mr. Softy, Mac addicts.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is hoping for an iPhone to go with his MacBook Pro. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is on schedule to crash Wall Street's party.