I speculated that Apple’s grouping of products to be updated in the autumn meant that they were opening up a gap in the spring for a new product of some kind. Horace Dediu, who is a lot smarter than I am, thinks Apple might be moving to a six-month update cycle for at least some of their major hardware products (I don’t think they’re going to be doing OS updates on a twice-annual basis yet). I didn’t think this made any sense until I got to his third reason:
Consumer anticipation. This year saw two quarters where sales were soft due to “product transitions” as awareness among the mass market of new product rumors caused growth to dry up. Too many potential buyers are now conditioned to wait for fall to buy iPhones thus sapping demand for half the year. Apple ends up with an inability to meet demand for half the year and a sales lull for the other half. Clearly this is suboptimal.
Remember how many people felt burned by the fourth-generation iPad update? If Apple does move to this fast update cycle, expect a lot of people to bemoan it. It’s better for Apple, though, and will be better for consumers as a whole, as these products will be fresher (though they will also “rot” quicker).