Why Apple should move its product launches

“Apple’s earnings for their last financial quarter came out on Tuesday. I reviewed them here (and talked about the iPad specifically here) but wanted to address something more long term,” Jan Dawson writes for Tech.pinions. “The issue I’d like to talk about is the cyclical nature of Apple’s operating and financial performance and the massive focus on the fourth quarter of the calendar year (Apple’s first quarter) as the driver of the year.”

“Apple’s results are heavily affected by the sales of its hardware products, which in turn have a huge spike in the fourth and to a lesser extent third quarter of each calendar year,” Dawson writes. “Ever since about 2003, the fourth quarter has been significantly bigger than any other quarter. ”

“What’s changed in the last few years is Apple’s timing for its major product launches for the iPhone and iPad.. the dates have moved steadily to the right on the calendar, with the iPhone starting in June and July and shifting to October and then September, and the iPad starting in March and April and shifting to November,” Dawson writes. “At the moment, Apple is both leaving money on the table by under-supplying demand in the fourth quarter and creating a massive lull in sales in the spring and summer. Both could be solved by moving at least some product launches back to other times of the year, and ideally late in the first quarter. Both overall sales and the stock market would be well served by a move away from fall product launches.”

Tons more in the full article – recommendedhere.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Or they could stick to the strategy of making amazing products, shipping them when they are ready, and caring more about changing the world than their stock price or the patterns of their cash flow.

    Do you think that might work out well for them?

    1. No, the article is basically saying that Apple should move their product launches up so for each product line, they happen every 3 months instead of about once per year, so they get a spike in sales more often.

  2. Or…fourth quarter = Christmas, third quarter = Back to school (if you’re lucky).

    Changing release dates aren’t going doesn’t help Apple with these realities.

    1. The back to school season is over by the time apple releases the new iPhones and iPads. People have already bought 1 year old tech.
      They should move the release to June/July for iphones /iPads.
      You would benefit for Christmas sales in 4th quarter

  3. When Apple shifted to fall releases I thought that this was a bad idea. However their logic is correct. It is better to come out with new products in the fall to make the most of the Xmas buying season. Also the back to school promotions in the summer are designed to reduce inventory ahead of product refreshes.
    So in reality Apple are capturing more sales using this approach.
    Analysts may well bitch about the lack of new products during the year. But even if Apple did change the launch cycle the analysts will find something else to criticism and Apple’s revenue will be lower.

  4. This is a business reality when Apple is facing relentless copycats that refuse to develop their own intellectual property and blatantly steal from Apple.

    The simplest way to get Apple to move their product launch dates is to make sure NO ONE buys the knock-offs.

    If Samsung, Xoami, and others were unable to sell their copycat products, then they would no longer copy Apple. The fact that others are stealing means that Apple has to position its launched to reduce the effective window for other companies to encroach on the key selling time in the holiday season

  5. I agree with author. One thing That always irritates me is that Apple misses the back to school rush. Sure, they try to unload their older models, but I think they could sell mucho more if their new powerbooks and iMacs became available by the beginning of August, not October.

    1. Missing launch dates can be due to Processors or supplies of screens or other components not up to spec. Better Apple misses the big day and get the product right – then to ship a bad product.

  6. Yeah, yeah. More armchair quarterbacking. I’m sure he knows better than the company putting billions in the bank every month. Maybe he should be the next CEO.

  7. Obviously a lot of the launch cycle has to do with when things are ready… OS, CPU, displays, etc…

    However, in an ideal world, I would like to see things staggered throughout the year.

    This September (or whenever in the Fall), will I be camped out with a shopping cart hoping to buy the new iPhone, iPad Air, iPad mini, a bag full of Apple TVs, iWatch/iTime, and MacBook Air???

    Break it up a little and let us have Christmas in July or whatever.

    What I hope they don’t do is release a 4.7″ iPhone 6 in the Fall and then a 5.5″ iPhone 6 in the Spring. That would suck, compared to releasing them both in the Fall.

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