With Apple releasing so much product this fall, what's left for early 2012?

Is Apple jamming too much new product into our hands this Fall?

This Fall season, Apple is busier than ever before. Back in 2010, Apple had their product launches spaced out. Spring saw the original iPad. Summer had the iPhone 4 in its traditional spot. Fall saw new iPods. This year, however, they just finished rolling out the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, and they’ve given us impressive new updates to the iPod lineup as well, mirroring many of the updates in the iPhone 5. Soon enough it looks like we’ll be seeing the iPad mini announced.

This prompts the question: Is Apple weighting product too much towards the Fall? Does it leave them vulnerable to competitors who can now counter-program them by launching products in the Spring and Summer of 2013, when Apple is in mid-cycle, without having to worry about any major new Apple launches?

I look at this in simple terms. The market for smartphones and tablets is growing very rapidly. Tablets are well on their way to becoming everyday mobile computing devices in the home, school, workplace, and all sorts of industries. They are a complete paradigm shift from yesterday’s notebook and netbook trend.

The multitouch market has only been around for a few years. I think when this market is 10 years old, we’ll look back and realize we underestimated how important it would become. And Apple ... well they pretty much popularized it. So they better capitalize on it.

This brings us back to the question of whether or not Apple is doing too much this Fall. I think we’re looking at a rare land grab in the market right now. Apple is in a dog fight with Google (Android) and to a lesser extent with Microsoft (Windows) and RIM (BlackBerry).

In my mind, there is absolutely no point waiting to bring firepower to the fight. If you have a new weapon, unleash it on the market. Win customers and grab land. Why wait?

The holiday season is massively important in this market. By launching a new iPhone, iPod family and an iPad mini all in time for the holidays, Apple is setting themselves up to grab a lot of new land in the most important time of the year.

Since customers tend to be fairly sticky when it comes to mobile computing platforms, this plays into Apple’s favour. This is good. As a shareholder, I love seeing this.

So, will Apple potentially face a slower Spring or Summer season? Yes, of course that’s a possibility. But we don’t know what Tim Cook and Team Cupertino have planned for next year. Even if they aren’t ready to disrupt the next market (whether it be the TV or something else), I’d rather see Apple win at the mobile computing land grab by pushing out incredible products quickly.

I also think that an iPad mini shows Apple’s willingness, under the leadership of Tim Cook, to grow their markets. Sure, Steve Jobs said that a 7” tablet would be too small. He also said no one wanted to watch video on an iPod, that no one was reading anymore, and that Apple wasn't making a phone.

Amazon and others proved people will buy them and enjoy them, just not in iPad numbers. I see no reason why Apple should sit out on this game. It’s like Samsung making a 50” and 70” TV but deciding not to make a 42” model. It’s just a form factor. We don’t need 10 different sizes, but the market will certainly appreciate more than one.

I like seeing Apple push, and I like seeing Apple get stuff into consumers’ hands quickly. Instead of thinking of this as a potential hole for competitors to attack in the Spring and Summer, I think of it in terms of how much further ahead Apple will be.

Chris Umiastowski

Chris was a sell side financial analyst covering the tech sector for over 10 years. He left the industry to enjoy a change in lifestyle as an entrepreneur, consultant, and technology writer.

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There are 13 comments. Add yours.

Aenean144 says:

Hmm, that render needs to be updated with the real iPhone 5 and the rumored iPad mini (side bezels are smaller), and maybe a thinner 9.7" iPad with Lightning connector. ;)

I think the answer is a maybe. ;) It does bring up a interesting prospect of one or the other iPad, be it the 7.85" or the 9.7" having a short product cycle, because I would think Apple would want them released at the same time eventually.

Also, it's not guaranteed that the iPods are on yearly refresh cycles anymore. The iPod touch may not be refreshed until 2014! So, if the products are ready, sell them.

cardfan says:

Can't argue with any of that. And ideally, Apple would like the new iOS version to benefit all iOS product launches. Where in the past, the new iOS update would go to waste pretty much on the ipad...marketing wise..because there's no new hardware to review. It'd only benefit the iphone launch.

It's not like we've seen revised reviews of ipads or even a mention of them hardly during the iOS 6 release. You don't get that unless you refresh the hardware.

cc3d says:

The competition is already there. The small tablet market has many takers in the Nexus 7, Kindles in both e-ink and Android flavors,Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note. Sure, it seems logical that people will just jump on an iPad mini because Apple sells it, but it might not be that way. I know plenty of iPad owners and I know plenty of Kindle (e-ink) owners. With the exception of a few, the Kindles owners I know would not have purchased an iPad mini instead. There is something about the convenience of the size AND PRICE of the Kindle. $99 and you toss in your backpack or purse and nobody cares if it's dinged up. Pay $349 for a 7" iPad mini and you're babying that thing around. No taking iPad mini to the beach!

Mrdevali says:

It won't be anywhere near $350, and for $99 you are staring at an e-ink cheese piece.

cc3d says:

Apple iPod touch (the 4" iPad) sells for $299 at the low end. So Apple is going to sell a 7" iPad for less than the 4" iPad? Just doesn't make sense. I still don't 100% buy that Apple is going to present an iPad mini. Just doesn't fit on the shelf with their current SKUs. It would have to be between the 4" and 9.6" pricing. So, I'd guess the iPad mini will be one memory configuration (8 or 16 gb), wifi only for $449?

eric6052 says:

I agree about the difference between a $99 eink kindle and an iPad. The intro. Priced Kindle is now $69. At that price it's practically disposable. I bring it everywhere and leave it in the truck all time. The story with the mini iPad will depend on what price point we end up seeing. If we end up with $199 (I doubt it) it's close to the Kindle level. If you're right about the $349 then the device will be babied.

geek36 says:

at least apple releases 1 new product per class(1 iphone, 1 ipad....so on) each year as opposed to android phone makers who releases a quite number of devices within a year.

jonlien2012 says:

I think the product lineup for this season is just perfect. I expect a refresh every year and this is exactly what we are getting.

www.beyondcareersuccess.com

Mrdevali says:

They are not "jamming" anything thing into our hands we choose to buy it... And I too think its weird to use old renders when you now have hi-res versions of the actual product available, that looks much better than these old "guess" shots.

END says:

I would like to see the iPad’s annual release date to be in November. I never liked it in March, so much better to release for the holidays.

As to cramming too much down, no I don’t think it is too much.

:)

Jenna Jameson says:

Apple cannot follow in the footsteps of those clowns at RIM and believe loyalists to the brand will stick around with occasional new offerings. If Apple wants to remain competitive they must continue to push the envelope with consistent new product releases which adds excitement to current iOS and prospective new consumers.

The demise of RIM came when they felt no competitor could touch their stronghold on the corporate client business and that it was theirs forever. Physical buttons on a phone? No touchscreen? ...........no way any Blackberry loyalist would leave for those features because, well, it's a Blackberry.

Game, set, match.

tomar5e101 says:

So you have shares in Apple? And you happen to write for a very influential news site devoted entirely to Apple? Isn't that something that should be disclosed on a regular basis?