This year I’m wondering more than ever if Apple could go to a staggered release strategy. The list of devices and services they now have on the market is a very long one. The iPhone, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Pro, Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, Apple TV, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iOS, Mac OS, WatchOS, Apple Pay, Apple Music, iCloud, App Stores (Mac, iOS, iBooks) and to a lesser degree the iPod. The devices in my opinion are ahead of their competitors. This makes me wonder if Apple needs to update all of them yearly or could they move to a staggered release cycle?
The iPad customer upgrade cycle has been somewhat harder to nail down than the iPhone. The iPad Pro which costs more and is a more pro level device. I feel will have an even longer period between upgrades. After having my Apple Watch for almost two months now most of what I want can be done in the software. All these things on their plate means that Apple must devote a lot of man power to each thing. If they moved to a staggered relase cycle. They would update the iPhone, iPad Air, iPad Mini and Macs yearly like normal. While the Apple TV, iPad Pro and Apple Watch would be updated every other year. Allowing them more time to work on the devices. But it would also allow all man power to be diverted at crunch time to the devices and services about to be released.
The iPhone is Apple’s crown jewel and ofcourse would continue to be released every year. The backlash would be unconceivable if it wasn’t. The internet would go insane, the stock would plunge and cities would burn. Sure I’m being a bit dramatic but at least two of the three things would happen. The iPad Air and Mini would also continue to be updated yearly as usual. The price is not as out of reach for consumers and new customers are more of a concern than upgrading customers. I feel like the iPad Pro and Apple Watch are new enough that having an alternating release schedule is possible. I highly doubt that will be the case this year since there will always be new customers and never a zero sale quarter. The instant gratification that has come to be synonymous with our generation is also a part of the reason. Before or even in the early days of smartphones I feel like upgrading every year was never a thing. What’s so wrong with a little anticipation? I think it adds to the excitement when the product is finally released.
I have been pondering the thought of Apple going to such a schedule. It’s an interesting idea to me but I feel like our resistance to change is also another part of the reason it might never happen.