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Could Apple be moving to introducing products twice a year?

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Could Apple be moving to introducing products twice a year?
While Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook is doing the rounds in the media these days speaking on how Apple changed in his first year or so, the company’s former CEO, John Sculley, might have just made it into the spotlight with some extremely interesting comments.

First, Sculley thinks Apple is managed extremely well at the moment. That is hardly a surprise given Tim Cook’s background.

Second and most importantly, though, Cook might have plotted a groundbreaking change in just how aggressive Apple is. How? By moving to introducing products not once, but twice a year.

"I think they're going through a very significant change now in terms of product cycles," Sculley said. "Traditionally Apple introduces products once a year; now it's really introducing products twice a year. The complexity of that from a supply chain is immense, and Apple seems to be doing it well. So, I think that people are underestimating just how well Apple is run, and just how successful the company can be when it gets to that twice-a-year product introduction cycle."

Now, this is just a suggestion, but a very curious one. Apple introducing the fourth generation iPad nearly six months after the launch of the original is unprecedented, and that’s the first sign of what could we have in the future.

And now, Horace Dediu of Asymco weighs in with 6 more interesting facts that could hint to Apple moving to semi-annual production.

First, comes the fact that Apple has ramped up the iPhone 5 launch quicker and wider than ever. The new iPhone is launching in an unparalleled number of countries, and with almost no delay for markets outside the U.S. This means that unlike previously, Apple won’t benefit from sales to new markets as the fiscal year goes.

Next, consumer anticipation to the company’s yearly cadence is drying up sales for a quarter or two prior to the launch of a new device.

Also, Hon Hai, a company you know by its Foxconn trade name, has moved locations closer to workers. And this allows it to rely less on migrant labor, and be steadier in terms of workforce.

Could all of this mean that Apple is indeed moving to a semi-annual product cycles? This could be a huge change for the industry, and the first big Tim Cook move. What are your thoughts on this, is it possible and what would be the ramifications?

source: TUAWAsymco

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posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:06 5

1. wendygarett (unregistered)

That means I can pay twice the fun from Apple!!! Yay!!!

Thumb me down and take my money Apple :D

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:40 15

13. Ohrules (Posts: 327; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)

request granted.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 21:49

51. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)

I guess it's possible

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 06:00 6

16. Wiki_jaan (Posts: 704; Member since: 24 Jun 2012)


posted on 10 Dec 2012, 06:03 3

17. blingblingthing (Posts: 578; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)

Buying apple's stock is a great way to lose money since you seem interested.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 07:28 4

23. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

Here's one from me-1™®©

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 20:18 1

49. metalpoet (unregistered)

this just means that within 2 years and 4 different iPhone models later, they may finally have a product that can be called "innovative" ;)

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 06:16

54. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

I was talking to an android fan boy in a casino just a couple days ago -- he was showing off his new Samsung phablet. I whipped my iPad Mini and showed off the apps that help make me money (I recently passed the $1,100 mark since buying the iPad Mini). Basically, Apple created an ecosystem that helps me make money in my hobby. These apps don't exist on android, btw.

In frustration, the fan boy was talking about how android had features for "years" that are now showing up on Apple devices or how Apple hasn't been innovative as android.

I responded, if fog lights are an important feature, then he probably won't buy an expensive sports card and instead buy a cheap Yugo with fog lights. His friend caught the joke. Then his friends started asking me about these money making apps so I took out my backup iPod Touch and showed them both apps for the iPhone/iTouch as well as the those for the iPad.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:07 12

2. apexKBC (Posts: 92; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)

Chill Apple ur sales r nt goin 2 rise above Sammy.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 07:02 8

20. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)

Seems lik the Fruit Company is Feeling the HEAT !!!

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 09:21 6

38. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

A 6-month release cycle could be counter-productive for Apple. As was mentioned, sales dry up the quarter before the expected new product release. With a 6-month release cycle, sales will dry up twice a year. The investment in R&D to sustain the twice-yearly release cycle whacks profits harder as well.

Sammy is out-competing Apple by using price cuts to keep sales going in later quarters. Consumers aren't stupid - they know a new and improved toy is on the way, why should they fork out full fare when the toy will be obsolete in 1, 2, or 3 months? But if the toy were to cost half (or less), that becomes compelling to enough buyers that sales of Sammy toys don't fall off the cliff in the 4th quarter of the product life cycle. And Sammy doesn't take as huge a hit to revenues and profits in the last quarter, because (in the U.S. at least) the carrier is still subsidizing the purchase.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Apple may not be as well-managed as some people think they are.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:00

46. darkkjedii (Posts: 24915; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

That's incredible that u know what apple should do better than they know. I guess u r a billion dollar company CEO. Oops my bad your a consumer.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:35 3

47. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Don't like the message, eh? Instead of attacking the messenger, try rebutting the message. Kind of hard? Try harder.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 05:55

53. darkkjedii (Posts: 24915; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Nope just wondering how u know what apple should do, better than they know...that's all. This is a huge tech company that has seen it all, and a consumer who doesn't like them has their roadmap figured out n one small rant on PA.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 06:57 1

56. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Still attacking the messenger, though. How about pointing out a weakness in my analysis? Like maybe how 2 product cycles in a year is somehow better than a single cycle. Kind of how 2 + 2 = 3

All companies go through transitions (look at HP as an example of how not to do it). IMO, Apple is still transitioning to post-Steve. Going to 2 product cycles in a year is either brilliant or dumb/stupid (and a way to piss away Steve's legacy of a 3 to 5 year pipeline when he died even quicker). Since no one else seems to be jumping at the opportunity (least of all, Sammy), I tend to think it is ill-advised.

I wonder how the stock market will score the move to 2 product cycles per year?

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 06:30

55. darkkjedii (Posts: 24915; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Droid I remember when your criticism of apple used to b constructive, and full of intellect now it seems like u jus follow along with your apple bashing android pals on PA. Apple has the cash, capitol, assets, manufacturing partners and know how to do this, and most other companies do it but since apple is considering it all of a sudden it's a bad move. I think u should forward your rant to apples R&D department. Obviously they need your help.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 07:05 1

57. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Who (that is successful in the phone market segment) is doing 2 product cycles for their flagship product in one year? Apple's challenge is how to avoid the fall-off in sales that occurs in the last quarter before refresh. One article stated the fall-off starts 2 quarters before refresh, which if true would be even more of an issue.

Having a big bag of cash doesn't protect a company from management mistakes.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 20:21 2

50. metalpoet (unregistered)

Oh poor poor darkkjedii.....tsk tsk tsk! Dont you know my man Droid_X_Doug is a Billion Dollar CEO! At least he is actually making sense!

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:08 2

3. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 637; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

That would be a good idea for Apple, since Android is metastasing rapidly and annual pace would mean death for Apple in couple of seasons.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:11 10

4. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 164; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)

it's a good idea to catch up with android but who would buy devices with the same shape and a little bit better with expensive prices

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:19 2

5. PowTheBowl (Posts: 86; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)

At least previous models will be cheaper, like the iPad 3 after the iPad 4 was announced.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:20

6. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 637; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

Well. normal people, who are not obsessed with changing shape of what is already proven good just for the change's sake. And BTW, it turns out that Apple products are usually less pricey than competition. In my country, for isnatnce, high end Android phones are far more expensive, wheter it's on contract or even on "black" market.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 08:34 3

29. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 164; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)

maybe this in your country in my country IPHONE5 cost 1350$ at the launch of it

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 11:10 2

42. RapidCat (Posts: 351; Member since: 12 Jun 2012)

ahaha same here Ahmed

i can get S3 and Note2 with iphone price. and more feature.

when talk about app. i don't care, i can get everything i need from playstore.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 14:40 1

44. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 637; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

iPhone in store: $1500
iPhone 2 yr most usual contract: $600
iPhone "black" market (new, unlocked): $700-800

Galaxy SIII in store: $1000
Galaxy SIII 2 yr most usual contract: $600
Galaxy SIII "black" market (new, unlocked): $700-800

So, the price isn't much of a deal, especially when you add the fact that buyers of high end models don't make a problem out of any price.

The reason is elsewhere. It's in ideology. First we all wanted iPhones, now we all want Sammys.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:21 2

7. Thephonegeek (Posts: 118; Member since: 22 Nov 2012)

Or they won't be able to save their ass anyway.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:30 2

8. MeoCao (unregistered)

From Maps and iPhone 5 design problems we can see that Apple is far from being "well managed" let alone "extremly well managed".

I read a report about good HTC Q4 results and iPhone 5 discount promotion capaign which paint a grim picture of Apple sales at the moment.

Last year Apple almost had a free ride when the only serious competition to iPhone was SS Note which was a new concept at the time. This year it's very different and Apple is feeling the pressure.

w/o innovation the obvious thing Apple can do is releasing its products more often and it may release more variants of iPhone and iPad. But we can see that Apple is losing script b-c it just can't compete with Android in choice and affordability.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:36 3

10. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

I would say they produce/use brilliant hardware, but comparing to Android Jelly Bean iOS 6 is mediocre at best and hinders them to really move forward. Instead, they concentrate on primitive specs-bumps and a few great designs, leading to stagnation.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 05:39 1

11. redmd (Posts: 1367; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

very well said. also I wonder what the pattern be like. iPhone 5S in March then I iphone 6 in October. I bet the next move would be to open the ecosystem.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 08:06

28. Valdomero (Posts: 288; Member since: 13 Nov 2012)

Perhaps an iPhone and 6 months later an iPad, or like you said, 2 iPhones the same year, surprisingly people will buy that stuff.

I hope people are smart enough not to buy a recently released iPhone just to get the latest device. wait a couple months, read reviews, wait for any news about a new release and then make the correct choice, don't be compulsive.

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