Is Apple abandoning annual product announcements?

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    Posted: 29 March 2011 02:28 AM #16

    FalKirk:

    iOS 5?  So major, it needs 3 extra months to be contained?

    OK.  I wouldn’t like it, I don’t believe it at all, but OK.  Relatively minimal harm there, as Honeycomb on smartphones is apparently not all that easy.  At all.

    But delaying iPhone by up to 90 very crucial days to put a fifth ornamental, experimental topping on the iPhone 5 sundae?  When A5 and one or two nicer cameras would really be much more than enough (it’s about the speeeeeeed, mannnnnn.  The speeeeeeeed!)?  When A5 + iOS 4.3 clearly get along?  I’ll bet TWO virtual nickels from my virtual Internet nickel vault that that’ll never happen.  NFC and LTE are just, not, that, important [EDIT: right now]. 

    If you disagree, let’s talk this out.  Should be fun!

    [ Edited: 29 March 2011 03:20 AM by Mav ]

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  • Posted: 29 March 2011 02:51 AM #17

    I really don’t think an iPhone launch in June is sacrosanct.  Recall that Apple pulled out of MacWorld to avoid scheduled, artificial deadlines.  The timing of technological change and availability of it is not tied to the calendar.  Apple is selling all the iPhone 5s it’s producing, so there’s no earnings issue here if there’s a delay.

    Frankly, I think Apple needs to add more than an A5 chip and iOS update to keep the competition on their heels. A redesign that includes a metal back may be part of the upgrade.  Apple has a lot on its plate and moving the bar high and getting it right out of the chute could very well take an extra 60-90 days.  Lion and iOS updates running parallel no doubt complicate time frames.

    Android phone makers have it relatively easy by comparison:  Launch a new handset and see if it sells. If not, launch another one and customers don’t really get upset with HTC or Moto because its their history to release new hardware like popcorn.  Apple has no such luxury with its customers.  One model is expected to stay current for at least a year.

    If Apple can hit one out of the park by waiting for an extra pitch, I’ll take a dinger over a double.

         
  • Posted: 29 March 2011 02:51 AM #18

    Mav - 29 March 2011 05:28 AM

    FalKirk:

    iOS 5?  So major, it needs 3 extra months to be contained?

    OK.  I wouldn’t like it, I don’t believe it at all, but OK.  Relatively minimal harm there, as Honeycomb on smartphones is apparently not all that easy.  At all.

    But delaying iPhone by up to 90 very crucial days to put a fifth ornamental, experimental topping on the iPhone 5 sundae?  When A5 and one or two nicer cameras would really be much more than enough (it’s about the speeeeeeed, mannnnnn.  The speeeeeeeed!)?  When A5 + iOS 4.3 clearly get along?  I’ll bet TWO virtual nickels from my virtual Internet nickel vault that that’ll never happen.  NFC and LTE are just, not, that, important. 

    If you disagree, let’s talk this out.  Should be fun!

    NFC (more specifically mobile payments) is potentially societal changing.  No more cash or credit cards to carry around.  Wave and pay flying through the drive up window at McDonald’s and a thousand other places.  Millions of man hours saved with expedited check in at locations too numerous to mention.  The Arch Angel Michael may no longer be able to brag about inventing standing in line. wink  Not important?  I think it’s the most important introduction of the mobile revolution.  It’s been discussed at length how this is potentially Apple’s opportunity to turn itself into a bank.  It’s also a very large advantage that Apple’s security currently has over android.  My fear that delaying this for the next refresh a year from whenever would be much more severe than releasing the new iPhone in September. 
    LTE not that important?  I’d hate to write that memo to the CEO’s of the major carriers who are investing billions in it’s deployment. 

    It needs saying (to myself as well) that you can’t call an unannounced product with no delivery date delayed.  Apple has it’s own schedule which they don’t share.

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  • Posted: 29 March 2011 02:58 AM #19

    BillH - 29 March 2011 05:51 AM

    NFC (more specifically mobile payments) is potentially societal changing.  No more cash or credit cards to carry around.  Wave and pay flying through the drive up window at McDonald’s and a thousand other places.  Millions of man hours saved with expedited check in at locations too numerous to mention.  The Arch Angel Michael may no longer be able to brag about inventing standing in line. wink  Not important?  I think it’s the most important introduction of the mobile revolution.  It’s been discussed at length how this is potentially Apple’s opportunity to turn itself into a bank.  It’s also a very large advantage that Apple’s security currently has over android.  My fear that delaying this for the next refresh a year from whenever would be much more severe than releasing the new iPhone in September. 
    LTE not that important?  I’d hate to write that memo to the CEO’s of the major carriers who are investing billions in it’s deployment. 

    It needs saying (to myself as well) that you can’t call an unannounced product with no delivery date delayed.  Apple has it’s own schedule which they don’t share.

    NFC, from what I’ve read of late, could be one of THE reasons for a delay if rumors prove true. I buy Starbucks daily using my iPhone and I’m addicted.  grin  I’m excited with the idea of getting rid of my wallet.  And there goes another industry….

         
  • Posted: 29 March 2011 03:09 AM #20

    Mercel - 29 March 2011 05:58 AM

    NFC, from what I’ve read of late, could be one of THE reasons for a delay if rumors prove true. I buy Starbucks daily using my iPhone and I’m addicted.  grin  I’m excited with the idea of getting rid of my wallet.  And there goes another industry….

    We need the hardware guys to weigh in on this but it seems to me we’re at a MAJOR crossroads of getting all this stuff integrated.  OSX/iOS, LTE, NFC, the cloud, stationary/mobil, it’s a really long list.  Their has been a lot of lip service paid to how well Apple integrates these things but if that’s true I’d hate to see the other guys.  It feels like every time I turn around something isn’t exactly compatible with something else.  This needs to change.

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    Posted: 29 March 2011 03:13 AM #21

    You’re not FalKirk!  wink

    But that’s fine by me, I want a debate on this, maybe I can be convinced.

    Wave ‘n pay.  One card I use doesn’t have it.  One that does is ridiculously wonky/unreliable.

    NFC.  How will Apple make producing your iPhone and waving it in front of some sensor easier than pulling out your wallet and producing the card?  Will Apple’s solution be compatible with all current NFC solutions?  What happens when the establishments you visit don’t have NFC?  What happens when it does, and it’s a cold, dark rainy night, and you have to wave your iPhone at the drive-thru in pouring rain, sleet or snow?  What will you need to do to get your iPhone in NFC mode (surely you won’t want it on all the time)?  What if your iPhone is stolen and you weren’t smart/savvy enough to set up Find My iPhone?  What if you’re the kind of person who tends to leave his iPhone on the desk at work? 

    NFC + iTunes.  Will users be willing to make the jump from iTunes as software seller to iTunes, their credit card pass-through agent?  How exactly will iTunes be the intermediary if at all?  Will iPhone NFC store your credit card info locally on your computer?  What if you use multiple credit cards? 

    It seems like 20 questions, but there’s some real issues involved in Apple being able to steer user behavior in a way that NFC transactions become as natural as they appear to be in Japan (where NFC has ruled in many places for years…of course, an NFC iPhone would be a huge hit in places with common NFC).  I’m not saying NFC isn’t the future.  It’s a bit like Wi-Max if you know what I mean.  More established and more ubiquitous, but hardly “everywhere” yet.

    LTE:  Of course it’s important.  It’s a big paradigm shift in telephony.  I dig speed.  But do you dig ridiculous data fees?  Hitting your data cap faster and paying $10/20 more for the privilege per month-whoops, actually “unlimited 4G” probably won’t exist for users, will it?  Will you still smile seeing your 4G-streamed video such as YouTube still looking ridiculously crappy for the data pipeline you have?  Will you accept 20MB app download caps?  Will you be happy with the carriers STILL not allowing FaceTime over 4G?  Will you find 4G everywhere for years?  Will you be OK with the 4G radio power drain?  Will you tolerate the AT&T-ification of your 4G network as millions of fellow users sap the fledgling network’s capacity?

    Again, I’m not saying LTE isn’t the future.  But as I see it now, NFC and LTE are in relative infancy.  The promise is there but the reality hasn’t caught up to it.  Apple doesn’t do half-baked and half-ass, usually.  3G was around for years when iPhone 1 came out, and they didn’t adopt it right away.  I don’t think Apple thinks that LTE, at the very least, is ready enough to take iPhones to 4G.  Heck, iPhones can’t even do more than 7.2Mbps down at present (it’s been that way since the 3GS).  I’d be surprised enough if they even took it to 21Mbps this generation, and that’s fine.  I can survive another year without the 4G upsell.

    [ Edited: 29 March 2011 03:23 AM by Mav ]

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  • Posted: 29 March 2011 03:49 AM #22

    Mav - 29 March 2011 06:13 AM

    You’re not FalKirk!  wink

    I know Falkirk.  I consider Falkirk a friend of mine and believe me when I tell you sir…,I’m no Falkirk!  :-D

    He takes the time to write understandably and coherently for one thing.  He also doesn’t seem to hate typing as much as I but I’ll take a really brief pass at a couple of these before I turn in.

    NFC.  How will Apple make producing your iPhone and waving it in front of some sensor easier than pulling out your wallet and producing the card?

    I call it wave to pay but really it wouldn’t have to leave your pocket if you didn’t want it to much like the key fob for an automobile.

    Will Apple’s solution be compatible with all current NFC solutions?  What happens when the establishments you visit don’t have NFC? What happens when it does, and it’s a cold, dark rainy night, and you have to wave your iPhone at the drive-thru in pouring rain, sleet or snow?  What will you need to do to get your iPhone in NFC mode (surely you won’t want it on all the time)?  What if your iPhone is stolen and you weren’t smart/savvy enough to set up Find My iPhone?  What if you’re the kind of person who tends to leave his iPhone on the desk at work?

    All of this is what makes it such a deliciously Apple problem to solve with what I believe will be enormous rewards as the motivation.  In addition there are many other questions left unanswered which sounds like a cop-out I know but consider this for starters.  Last I knew the primary cause of credit card and identity theft had to do with a physical retailer and a physical card.  This would be better than that simply because it could be locked away from the clerks.  Do you leave your wallet at the office?  Are you more likely to lose your phone than your wallet? 

    I’m not saying NFC isn’t the future.  It’s a bit like Wi-Max if you know what I mean.  More established and more ubiquitous, but hardly “everywhere” yet.

    I never really thought you were saying it wasn’t important. wink  I just feel like I have to hammer on how crucially important I believe it is to get this right.  I also believe that now is the time but I’ve been known to panic before.  Apples billions would be well spent if they used some of it to make sure it is everywhere and compatible.  Amex paid for all those credit card imprinters after all.  I totally agree with your “(it?s about the speeeeeeed, mannnnnn.  The speeeeeeeed!)” but feel that the important track is this one.

    LTE:  Of course it’s important.  It’s a big paradigm shift in telephony.

    It’s crucially important to support your partners and their invested capital.  They just can’t say wait till next year and we’ll throw it in.  They just can’t.

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    Posted: 29 March 2011 03:56 AM #23

    Appreciate the discussion, BillH.

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    Posted: 29 March 2011 10:18 AM #24

    Apple will not take the decision to introduce the iPhone 5 after the summer is over lightly. Product introductions, including Apple’s, have their seasonality, and need to be spaced out too keep from overcrowding the customer’s attention.

    New smartphones are desirable at the beginning of summer, when a device for mobile connectivity is most desired, because that is when people begin traveling. Autumn will see the new iPods and maybe Lion introduced. Adding iPhones to the release schedule will create too many demands on the customer, who will not line up to buy all three products in such a short span of time, and may forget about it in the future.

    Post summer delays of the iPhone 5 are FUD.

    [A cast on my dominant paw keeps me from typing eloquently]

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    Posted: 29 March 2011 11:19 AM #25

    I think we are a bit early on the LTE transition.  Currently Apple relies on Qualcomm for the CDMA and Infineon for GSM.  Qualcomm is further along in LTE development but both companies announced next generation chipsets at MWC.  For Infineon the XMM 7060

    The XMM 7060 slim modem platform fits in less than 700mm? PCB (Printed Circuit Board) area including all necessary system components for quad band LTE, penta band 3G and quad band EDGE applications. It supports LTE category 3 (CAT-3) throughputs (100Mbps/50Mbps download/upload respectively) and is compliant to LTE Release 8 standard supporting FDD and TDD mode for all bandwidth up to 20MHz. In addition Inter-RAT handover features with 3G and 2G systems are naturally included.

    Availability
    First samples of the platform will be available by the third quarter of 2011, with volume shipment scheduled for the second half of 2012.


    Qualcomm

    Announced the MDM 9615/MDM8215

    The MDM9615 and MDM8215 chipsets will be highly-optimized follow-on products to the MDM9600? and MDM8220? product family. Both chipsets will provide enhancements in modem performance, power consumption, board area and BOM expense.

    Samples of the MDM9615, MDM8215, WTR1605 and PM8018 are anticipated to be available in late 2011.

    This means either Apple sticks with the first gen LTE chipset from Qualcomm(MDM 9600/MDM8220) or waits till 2012)  The current iPad 2 chipset with the MDM 6600 supports HSPA+ but the GSM version users an older chipset as Infineon’s XMM6260 does start volume production until the 2nd qtr of this year.

         
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    Posted: 29 March 2011 11:40 AM #26

    But as I see it now, NFC and LTE are in relative infancy.? The promise is there but the reality hasn?t caught up to it.? Apple doesn?t do half-baked and half-ass, usually.

    Exactly. These will appeal to early adopters. The huge majority of consumers will not be willing to make the compromises required.

         
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    Posted: 29 March 2011 12:05 PM #27

    Apple didn’t say there’s no iPhone 5 in June, until it’s June 31 and we see no iPhone 5. 

    From the Observatory:

    What does not make sense to me is Apple delaying iPhone 5 till the fall. Creative and unpredictable as they may be, Apple is extremely logical about their product scheduling. What they have now works beautifully: iPad in March, iPhone in June, iPod in September, Macs whenever they damn well please.

    The reason they do this is that Steve Jobs believes in having one big message at a time. When a product is launched, it becomes the focus of all Apple communications: home page, TV, print, outdoor, Apple Stores. If iPhone 5 is delayed till October, there would be two launches to support at once ? iPod and iPhone. I?m not saying it couldn?t happen, but it?s something I?ve never seen Apple do.

    On a side note, this is also why I?m doubtful about the recent rumor of an all-new iPad 3 coming for the holiday season. (A) I don?t think Apple wants or needs to update iPad more than once per year, and (B) a new iPad for the holiday would siphon off attention from the new iPods.

    Of course, if Apple were dabbling with that seven-inch iPad they claim to have no interest in, it might be a different story. That wouldn?t be an iPad 3, it would simply be a new model of iPad 2 ? and it would be one irresistible holiday toy.

    Source: http://kensegall.com/blog/2011/03/the-mystery-of-iphone-5

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  • Posted: 29 March 2011 12:14 PM #28

    Or we could go with MG Siegler’s rumors which is more in line with my speculations.  Find it

    here.

    And it may prove to be worth the wait. TechCrunch contributor Steve Cheney (who nailed the timing of the Verizon iPhone last year), believes that a fall iPhone 5 launch makes LTE much more likely. He currently puts the odds at zero to ten percent for LTE if the iPhone 5 launched this summer (again, not happening), 50 percent if it comes in the fall, and 100 percent if it comes in January.

    A fall timeframe would give Apple a more vetted and lower power Qualcomm chip for LTE, Cheney says. When the Verizon iPhone was unveiled in January, Apple COO Tim Cook addressed the LTE issue directly. ?The first generation LTE chipsets force some design compromises. Some of which we would not make,? he said. If Cheney is right, that may not be such an issue later this year.

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  • Posted: 29 March 2011 12:55 PM #29

    Mav - 29 March 2011 05:28 AM

    FalKirk:

    iOS 5?  So major, it needs 3 extra months to be contained?

    OK.  I wouldn’t like it, I don’t believe it at all, but OK.  Relatively minimal harm there, as Honeycomb on smartphones is apparently not all that easy.  At all.

    But delaying iPhone by up to 90 very crucial days to put a fifth ornamental, experimental topping on the iPhone 5 sundae?

    First, my initial inclination was to believe that an annual cycle was sacrosanct. As I tried to point out in the first two paragraphs of my original post, Apple has shaken my belief in this regard.

    Second, I tend to be dismissive of rumors of this sort. However, this rumor seems to be built on a fairly firm foundation.

    Third, it is my belief that IF the iPhone 5 were delayed then there would have to be a damn good reason for it.

    Mercel - 29 March 2011 05:51 AM

    If Apple can hit one out of the park by waiting for an extra pitch, I’ll take a dinger over a double.

    Agreed.

    BillH - 29 March 2011 05:51 AM

    NFC (more specifically mobile payments) is potentially societal changing.

    Agreed.

    I don?t want Apple to delay the sale of the iPhone 5. I think it would have all sorts of negative consequences. On the other hand, Apple is on an annual schedule. If they bring out a phone in June that does not have (fill in your favorite theory here) then they will have to wait an entire nother year before adding that feature. I would rather have Apple wait and get it right than remain locked into an annual schedule. Fortunately, Apple has a history of doing just this, so we can remain hopeful that any delays will be due to an overabundance of competnce rather than to incompetence.

         
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    Posted: 29 March 2011 01:47 PM #30

    BillH - 29 March 2011 03:14 PM

    Or we could go with MG Siegler’s rumors which is more in line with my speculations.  Find it

    here.

    And it may prove to be worth the wait. TechCrunch contributor Steve Cheney (who nailed the timing of the Verizon iPhone last year), believes that a fall iPhone 5 launch makes LTE much more likely. He currently puts the odds at zero to ten percent for LTE if the iPhone 5 launched this summer (again, not happening), 50 percent if it comes in the fall, and 100 percent if it comes in January.

    A fall timeframe would give Apple a more vetted and lower power Qualcomm chip for LTE, Cheney says. When the Verizon iPhone was unveiled in January, Apple COO Tim Cook addressed the LTE issue directly. ?The first generation LTE chipsets force some design compromises. Some of which we would not make,? he said. If Cheney is right, that may not be such an issue later this year.

    Apple can release the iPhone 5 in June WITHOUT LTE, and then release LTE with iPhone 6.  Other than tethering, is there a need for more throughput on the iPhone itself

    I think the key question is this:
    Does delaying iPhone 5 for the sake of LTE make for a better user experience?

    I can’t think of a use case on the iPhone where having LTE over 3G HSPA would make enough of a difference to delay a key piece of hardware that consumers have been conditioned to expect at a certain time in the year.

    [ Edited: 29 March 2011 01:49 PM by moltenfire ]

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    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
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