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sspade
Apr 03, 2013

How often should Apple release a new iPhone?

Smartphone technology and specs are moving so rapidly, that I wonder if Apple's product cycle is too slow. A year ago a 1Ghz single core CPU would have been a bland, middle of the road device, now it is a creaky old thing ready for retirement. With Apple bringing out a new iPhone on more or less an annual basis, I'm starting to wonder if this is too slow of a development cycle to keep it at the front of the pack any more. Should they start releasing new versions more often, or is the current pace sufficient to keep users happy and attract new customers? I'm genuinely curious about this - my first smartphone was an Android, and I each replacement has been a newer Android; I've never owned an iPhone, but I've played around with them and thought they were pretty slick. Time stays still for no product though.

jimlynch
04/10/2013
A major upgrade once per year, a slightly buffed up minor upgrade very six months. Any more than that and they risk irritating consumers by having too many updates, too soon.
jackson
04/04/2013

Apple has consistently pleased it's customers with the iPhone, and it remains an aspiration product, so I suppose they are doing it pretty well to this point. The iPhone has taken a very evolutionary approach to product development, after a revolutionary beginning. I expect that will continue, but of course the danger for Apple is that by playing it too safe, people loose the sense of excitement that comes along with the release of a new version. It's a bit of a balancing act. The other thing to think about is that the iPhone is a premium priced device, as anyone who has looked at purchase off contract knows. If the product life-cycle is too short, how happy will people be that the expensive device they just purchased has already been superseded? Probably not very. 

C
Christopher Nerney
04/03/2013
Given Apple's notorious level of control and seeming unwillingness to ship anything before it's ready, it probably would be hard to do more than one release annually, unless the company (and, more importantly, its customer base) was willing to settle for minor tweaks between releases.

Another reason why Apple probably maintains its current schedule is marketing: It's hard to stoke the hype machine more frequently than once a year or so. Though sometimes I get the impression that diehard Apple fanboys would buy a new device every three months if they could. It's probably good that they can't.



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