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A new version of Apple’s iOS (4.3 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) is out and ready for download this morning in advance of today’s iPad launch. But Microsoft is acknowledging that Windows Phone users will have to wait until later this month for the already long-awaited first major update to the company’s new mobile platform.

The decision follows glitches encountered by some users of Samsung Windows Phones when Microsoft issued a preliminary update last month.

“We have the next update waiting in the wings,” promises Eric Hautala, a Windows Phone GM, in a blog post. “It delivers copy and paste, better Marketplace search, and other key improvements. … But I believe it’s important that we learn all we can from the February update. So I’ve decided to take some extra time to ensure the update process meets our standards, your standards, and the standards of our partners.”

The update is now expected in the latter half of March, pushed back from the expected release early this month.

Hautala notes that the “short pause should in no way impact the timing of future updates, including the one announced recently at Mobile World Congress featuring multitasking, a Twitter feature, and a new HTML 5-friendly version of Internet Explorer Mobile.”

But in the meantime, the company is skating on thin ice with the Windows Phone faithful. Windows Phone Secrets author Paul Thurrott chronicled his struggles with the preliminary update in this post earlier this week, and counted the number of times — five — that Apple has updated iOS since Windows Phone was released.

“I’ll try not to get all emotional here,” he writes, “but … WTF?”

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