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Should Apple Split The iPhone Launch?

The Rumors

There have been some rumors lately about the 2020 iPhones getting more differentiation. Supply chain analyst and Apple rumor wellspring Ming-Chi Kuo seems to think that the iPhone 14 models will retain the A15 chip, and the iPhone 14 Pro models will get the shiny new A16.

A different leak suggests that there will be regular” and large” sizes for both the pro and non-pro phones.

My Take

These are both correct, but we won’t find out about them at the same time. I think the iPhone 14 Pro line will be introduced in the fall, and the iPhone 14 normal” line will be held until spring.

I can see Apple walking out onto the virtual (or in-person?) stage in September or October and introduce the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, with powerful new A16 processors, a much-improved camera, and a bunch of other stuff. Then…

That’s it. They move on. Later, in March 2023 they introduce the iPhone 14 and 14 Max at a Spring Event with the A16 and various other (but lower-end) improvements.

I think it’s time that Apple split the annual iPhone launch up, and now is a great time to do it.

Why Split Up the iPhone Launches?

  1. Headlines, Baby!. iPhone launches get press. Doing it twice won’t get double the press, but it will certainly get more than one.
  2. Supply Chain. Apple has dominated the electronics supply chain for years, and that hasn’t changed. But reality is reality. If they have to make half as many phone models for fall, it will be a lot easier. They can also bin a bunch of A16s along the way and have a giant bucket of parts ready to roll by spring.
  3. Shift Revenue. Apple makes a crap-ton of money in the holiday quarter, mainly driven by iPhone sales. By splitting the launch, they will move a big chunk of money to the spring quarter, evening out the revenue over the year.
  4. Wall Street. There will come a day when Apple has to forecast that they are going to sell fewer phones and make less money. It’s gonna happen. If they can forecast on the next earnings call that they are shifting to a more distributed iPhone release cycle, then Apple is setting the message, not consumers.
  5. Higher Revenue. iPhones Pro make more money. If the expensive new phones come out in the fall, and the cheaper new phones come out in the spring, that will drive more people to buy the more expensive one. Consumers are generally impatient, and many will just eat the extra couple hundred dollars to update to a Pro model to get it now.

Calling Mr. Betteridge

OK, yes. I intentionally used a Betteridge1 headline. I don’t think Apple will actually do this, but on the surface it makes sense. Get some press, ease supply chain constraints, set the Wall Street narrative, and make more money. Why shouldn’t they?

  1. Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.↩︎

🗓️ May 2, 2022 🏷️ iPhone 🏷️ Rumors
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