Analyst sees multiple iPhone releases per year after meeting with Apple CEO Cook

“Apple’s decision to split the iPhone lineup into a high-end flagship model and a more affordable mid-range offering sets the stage for the company to increase the frequency with which it updates the handsets, one analyst increasingly believes after meeting with the company’s chief executive, Tim Cook,” Shane Cole reports for AppleInsider.

“In a Wednesday note to investors, Morgan Stanley Apple watcher Katy Huberty called the iPhone line divergence ‘a thoughtful approach’ following conversations with Cook and Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer,” Cole reports. “Huberty believes Apple is now primed for ‘multiple refreshes per year’ of the popular device, akin to the twin launches of iPad 3 and iPad 4 in 2012.”

Cole reports, “Huberty also sees services growing into a more prominent profit driver for Cupertino. She cites the potential advantages of integrating Apple’s nearly 600 million ‘high-end’ customer accounts, most linked to credit cards, with new hardware like the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to create ‘new services revenue streams.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. As I posted on AppleInsider:

    “I am willing to believe that Apple COULD conceivably launch iPhones at two different points of the year. However, I believe Apple would not do something like release the iPhone 6 in the spring after debuting the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in the fall. Instead, I could see Apple conceivably releasing a new addition to the iPhone 5 lineup–whether it’s a larger iPhone or something else–that would satisfy demand for some segment of the market WITHOUT cutting into the creme-de-la-creme that is the current iPhone 5s or next fall’s iPhone 6.

    It’s also what I see happening with the alleged (and still possibly fictitious) iPad Pro. They release their flagship product and their consumer-oriented product (i.e. iPhone 5s/5c and iPad Air/Mini) in the fall so that they benefit from the holiday shopping season, then their more niche product (say iPhone 5p, for Plus or Pro, and iPad Pro) in the spring.

    Dividing the upgrade cycle that way would probably make a lot more sense just because it means a shorter drought between releases. This year was very long because all of Apple’s major releases were in the fall, with very few new products (128GB iPads, Haswell MacBook Air, etc.) over the rest of the year to get excited about. It keeps Apple on the same once-a-year upgrade cycle for all their products, but spreads the launches out enough to keep people talking.

    (See? I can pull this stuff out of my tuckus, too.)”

    1. Good points all. But the iPhone 6, the larger iPhone, will be the flagship phone going forward once it is released. And I believe it will be released next fall with the iPhone 5S as the new iPhone 5c.

      1. Agreed…

        It will be a nice set up… iOS7 capable… iphone 6, 5s, and 5c

        I wonder however, if Apple builds the mythical wider iPhone 6, would they keep building the slimmer 5s sized phones?
        iPhone 6x versus iPhone 6? If so, what happens to the “s” moniker for the every other year semi upgrade?

        Is it possible Apple builds iPhone 6, 6x as well as 5s & 5c?
        The iPhone itself will have a grid of its own…

    2. I don’t see it happening. Apple puts too much time and effort into each product to slap together some simple update like Samsung does and call it a new phone.

      Plus, the iPad 3 and 4 releases were, IMO, failures of marketing. People didn’t really respond to them with much anticipation, which wasn’t helped by the relative lack of differentiation between the models.

      1. While the article seems to be suggesting that, that is not at all what I said.

        Apple COULD have three fully realized iPhone product lines, and three fully realized iPad product lines. The flagship devices (iPhone [N], iPhone [N]s, iPad Air) and the consumer devices (iPhone [N]c and iPad Mini) would be updated in the fall, while the niche products (iPhone [N]p and iPad Pro) would be updated in the spring, because they are not intended to be major holiday sales drivers. That way, Apple doesn’t go through major droughts between upgrades.

        Nothing about rushing anything to market or condense the upgrade cycle like they did with iPad’s 3rd and 4th generations.

        And also, it’s not something I think Apple should do, or will do. But they certainly CAN do it and it would make sense, especially if they’re planning an iPad Pro and a larger iPhone anyway.

    3. I can definitely see Apple adding a larger iPhone to the lineup, but the real question is how high end do they go. I’ve heard that a 4.7 inch phone would work out to iPad screen resolution. They could have a “c” model in the larger size in addition to a pro model with a ridiculously amazing camera (and Touch ID, etc.)

  2. The iPad 3 to iPad 4 was barely an update, A5X to A6X and 30 pin to Lightning connector. It just happened to work out that way with the new standards and apple setting up its tick tock release schedule used now

    1. Actually, the iPad 4 roll-out worked very nicely for me. I had just bought an iPad 3, and a week later, the iPad 4 was announced. I went to my local Apple store, and without blinking, the manager smiled and told me to bring my new iPad back for an exchange to an iPad 4, no questions asked.

      I walked out the following evening with a new iPad 4 that ran much faster than what I had bought. No questions, no hassles. I was thrilled at the service I received, and love my iPad. Yes, the new iPad Air is amazing. I’m happy for anyone who buys one. But I love what I have, and am grateful to Apple for making me feel like a valued customer.

      Yes, I had to buy an new cable. Big deal. I also bought an iPhone 5, so I started the cable and converter upgrade, and never looked back.

  3. Apple’s yearly schedual is WWDC in early June to show a new MacBook, and tease upcoming software and promote developers. Iphone in September iPads in October with iMac and Mac mini and MacBook Pro and every couple years a Mac Pro

  4. I don’t see any actual evidence, just speculation from an industry analyst who thinks Apple should act like the rest of the industry. I don’t think it will happen.

    If new iPhones are released two times a year, that just means two periods per year with slower iPhone sales, in anticipation of new iPhones. Apple has proven that iPhone (and iPad) can sustain strong sales for the full year, except during the final month before new models are expected. And its not just one full year, because those iPhone models continue to have strong sales for up to three years, as the lower-cost iPhone choices.

    Apple gets great value out of designing products that have long “shelf life.” With the new “c” iPhone, it’s NOT “divergence.” Here’s how it think it will work:

    This year, the top iPhone is an “s” model (looks mostly like last year’s top iPhone). The middle iPhone is a plastic-case “c” version of last year’s top iPhone. And the low-end iPhone is the previous “s” model, in its third year. This creates excellent product differentiation between the three choices.

    Next year, the top iPhone will have a “new look” (probably called “iPhone 6”), like going from the iPhone 4 to iPhone 5. The middle iPhone will be the current iPhone 5s. And the low-end iPhone will be the current iPhone 5c. Again, excellent product differentiation.

    The following hear, the top iPhone will be an “s” model. The middle iPhone will be a plastic-case “c” version of last year’s top iPhone. And the low-end iPhone will be the previous “s” model, in its third year. And so on…

    So the “new look” iPhone only lasts one year, but becomes the plastic-case “c” iPhone, which continues for two more years. The “s” iPhone lasts for three full years. Apple loves this type of systematic approach. Apple can’t have this kind of efficient product development, if they are scrambling to product new models twice a year.

    NOTE: The only reason there were two releases for iPad in 2012 is because Apple was transitioning iPad to a Fall release, instead of Spring. And now, we are back to the annual release schedule in 2013.

  5. It does bring up the question though, how many new assholes would you have to rip up before an analysts (and everyone else) sees the new releases. Can’t be very long they way they ooze fecal matter.

  6. Personally I think they will come out with a larger phone. But I think there’s a lot of people who won’t want a monster sized phone, so I speculate that they will have two top end phones that are specked the same, except the screen size. Just like the two new iPads. Same chip and everything. Only screen size is different. Maybe have the 5″ or whatever at like $100 more than the 4″. I think they will always have the “c”, but only in the 4″, running a similar internal hardware setup as whatever the prior year model had.
    I don’t know about two launches a year.

  7. I thought this was pretty clear. Next year iPhone 6C and 6S… each version will have stepdown model

    iPhone 6S 199+ Contract
    iPhone 5S 99 + Contract
    iPhone6C 99 + Contract
    iPhone6C Free + Contract

    Actually, rather than have a serious ‘visual refresh’ every year, I think Apple has settled on these two designs, and will just upgrade internals, sensors, camera , etc

    Perhaps next year, they even add a iPhone 6L… if you think Apple is ever going to compete against the Note3 with a “phone” that doesn’t even fit the human hand, breaking basic Human Interface Guidelines

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