The iPhone 6 release could come faster and Apple could offer multiple iPhone launches in a single calendar year according to a note to investors shared after a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer.
Apple released two iPhones in 2013, but did so on the same day with a clear distinction between the two. The iPhone 5s is Apple’s flagship iPhone while the iPhone 5c is a cheaper, mid-range option that offers last year’s tech in a new design.
According this new report from Katy Huberty, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, this set the stage for faster updates to the iPhone line, similar to the fast iPad 3 to iPad 4 release in 2012. Unlike most analyst notes which focus on the supply chain and other sources, Apple Insider reports that Huberty came to this conclusion after a meeting with Cook and Oppenheimer.
Huberty’s note states that Apple is ready for, “multiple refreshes per year,” of the iPhone line, but doesn’t quote either Apple leader on record with a specific plan for a fast iPhone 6 release or even faster iPhone 7.
Apple committed over half a billion dollars to a U.S. based company recently to develop Sapphire glass technology which could be a part of a new iPhone, possibly the iPhone 6 according to conjecture.
If Apple shifts to a multiple iPhone per year strategy the company would need to execute the releases in a manner that doesn’t leave consumers constantly waiting for the next iPhone or angry that Apple held a feature back for a newer device. This was a major issue for Android smartphones in the 2011, with Motorola as the worst offender. Motorola announced the Droid Bionic at CES in January 2011 and delayed it until September 2011 when many consumers quickly purchased the device. Less than two months later Motorola launched the Droid RAZR and Droid RAZR MAXX, with better designs, features and support, leaving many customers angry at the fast release.
The dual release strategy is working for Samsung, thanks to a very focused approach which Apple may be planning to copy. Samsung launches the Galaxy S series in the first half of the year and the Note series in the later half. The to devices are different enough that consumers do not need to choose between the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 in the same way that harmed fast releases from Samsung in earlier years.
Analysts agree that Apple is working on a larger display for the iPhone 6, and a recent NPD DisplaySearch report points to two iPhone models in 2014. While it’s not clear if both of these are an iPhone 6, the report claims we will see a 4.7-inch iPhone with a 720P display and a larger 5.7-inch iPhone with a 1080P display.
Anecdotal reports from Gotta Be Mobile readers and conversations with consumers show demand for an iNote or Galaxy Note 3 sized iPhone 6. By offering multiple iPhone models with distinct sizes and target users Apple could pull off a multiple iPhone 6 release cycle and avoid a lawsuit like the one filed after the fast iPad 4 release.