June. September. March. October. The holiday season. Reports come out weekly that give different dates as possible launch windows for Apple’s mobile line. The iPhone and iPad lines have had release dates that range from spring to fall. And the highly rumored iWatch is speculated to be announced in June, at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). While the announcement may come at WWDC, the iWatch, iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 will most likely launch in the fall, and here’s why.
The original iPhone launched in June 2007. The next three models, the iPhone 3G, 3Gs and the iPhone 4 kept in line with a summer release, each subsequent model a year apart. But the iPhone 4s was held for an additional four months and moved to an October release, beginning the autumn launch season Apple currently holds. The main reason for the move to fall was to align sales for the mobile device with the holiday season.
On the one occasion that Apple moved away from an annual life cycle was for the iPhone 4, and that was a prolonged release. Since they have never undercut a year for an iPhone life span, it’s hard to believe they would start now. It also stands to reason that Apple will continue with the fall season as a release window for the iPhone 6. Both the iPhone 5 and 5s/5c launches happened on the third Friday of September, so the iPhone 6 will most likely continue that trend and launch on Sept. 19, 2014.
iPad Air 2
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Several rumors have emerged regarding what the next iPad will look like. Some reports suggest a 12+ inch version tentatively called the iPad Pro. But while Apple has pushed designs in the past, like reducing the iPad’s size and creating the iPad Mini, the tech giant will most likely not release the aforementioned lager iPad this year. Normally, reports from screen or enclosure manufacturers get strategically leaked, pointing to how far along in development a product is. None of that has happened for the so called iPad Pro.
Instead, most of the reports coming out of Taiwanese supply chains are about the screen size of the iPhone 6 or the stepped batteries for the iWatch. This means that 2014 will most likely see an improvement on the iPad Air, but not a drastic change. Instead look for a fall release for the iPad Air 2 because the most recent iPad Air was launched in October. Again, this was moved from the original launch season of spring, but instead of prolonging the launch of a new device, Apple released three devices in 2012: the iPad 3, the fourth-generation version simply renamed iPad and the iPad Mini. Considering that this move was just over a year ago, the likelihood of a deviation from this timeframe is probably low. Look for the iPad Air 2 around Nov. 1, 2014.
We know the iWatch is in development as Apple has been hiring a team of health- and fitness-related developers. Other signs like a report stating that Apple will use LG Chem’s stepped batteries shows that Apple will be delivering a wearable device this year. But when? Since this device is brand new, there is no launch cycle history to base speculation on. However, judging on how Apple treated the iPad Mini, moving the product line’s launch window to fall, shows that Apple wants to line up devices congruently.
The speculation that the iWatch will not be a standalone device suggests that a dual release with either the iPhone or iPad is likely. Coupling the inbuilt sensors (possibly a heart rate monitor, a pedometer or, perhaps less likely, a glucose monitor) with an iPad or iPhone means that the device strengthens the other products value. Leveraging that information means that the iWatch should hit sometime in the fall as well. All in all, everything until the WWDC is just conjecture. Just wait and see.