Apple’s product cycles are getting shorter and shorter. This may prove worrisome for investors who, despite Apple stock still being on top, have seen a rollercoaster ride this past year.
When Steve Jobs was alive and well and running Apple, it seemed that their products got updated on an annual basis. We would have an annual press event and launch for iMacs and Macbooks and another event later in the year for mobile products. That all seemed to change after Jobs passed away and next in line Tim Cook took over.
After AT&T’s exclusive deal with Apple ran out and Sprint and Verizon joined the ranks of wireless carriers selling the iPhone, Apple sped up the cycle, but not just on the iPhone, but on the iPad as well.
Last year, around this time, rumors of the iPad 3 started to bubble. At a press event in California Tim Cook unveiled the iPad 3, or what it was officially called “The New iPad” right before SXSW, consequently a year, almost to the day, after the release of the iPad 2.
So in the fall of 2012 when reporters were once again summoned to Silicon Valley, they left scratching their heads when Apple announced not only the iPad mini but the iPad 4th generation as well. The new generation of Apple’s 10″ flagship tablet immediately made “The New iPad” (not even the iPad 2), obsolete. It was “The New iPad” that halted production and purged from retail locations.
This left not only journalists scratching their heads but Apple fans as well. Loyal Apple fans and users were used to re-upping their mobile products on a somewhat annual basis and their computers either annually or every other year depending on the feature sets.
While Apple rumors are bubbling every day, it’s disturbing to some that not barely three months after the September 21st 2012 release of the iPhone 5, rumors of the iPhone 6 are hitting the net.
Now usually the earliest of Apple rumors originate from some no name blog site that’s getting a few hundred hits a week, however trusted startup and technology site The Next Web (TNW) has reported that “Developers Begin Seeing New Apple iPhone Hardware and iOS 7 in Usage Logs”.
While this is no indication that the iPhone 6 is just around the corner, the TNW article and this article at Business Insider suggest a mid year release date for the iPhone 6 refresh. That could put the release anywhere between May and August of 2013. August of course could line up perfectly with an annual release, and May would still seem a bit early.
The iPhone 5 was one of the most significant upgrades which was why the newest version got a number change, unlike the 4 to the 4s. The iPhone 5 increased the speed, added 4G LTE, a new (miserable) maps product and changed the connection port from 30 pin to their proprietary “lightning” port.
Many are hoping that the next iPhone will be even thinner and also incorporate new technologies like NFC.
We’ll have to wait and see for now.