According to a story I first spotted on 9to5mac, Apple are going to follow a slightly different release cycle than I first thought at the beginning of the year.
Here is the proposed timeline.
The Analyst Peter Misek at Jefferies & Co.’s suggests not only that the iPhone 6 will note be delivered until 2014 and that a new “more affordable” iPhone is up for release in the summer, alongside an iPhone 5S, but he also says that next month an Apple event will be held to announce the Apple TV SDK.
Some of this make sense to me.
Let me take on the role of oxygen, salts and moist conditions and break it all down for you.
iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5 and the new ”more affordable” iPhone.
Firstly, I call it the “more affordable” iPhone in response to something Apple’s head of Marketing, Phil “The Thrill” Schiller said in China about a month ago.
“A ‘cheap’ iPhone is not in Apple’s future” (or something to that extent) I believe because Apple see cheap as a very negative word, a lot of people do, it’s used in phrases like “It looks cheap and nasty” or “that guy is so cheap” it can be seen as a bad phrase, something Apple would like to avoid. However, “more affordable” or “higher value” have a much nicer spin on the fact it is a cheap arse plasticky low-end iPhone model.
Anyway, lets look at what history tells us.
Traditionally for the last few years, every time Apple has released a new iPhone, to make the iPhone more affordable, they have just taken the previous model and reduced the price. Making the current lineup thus… the free iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S at $99 and the iPhone 5 at $199 all with a multiple of $10s a month contract. The phones are then bought by the carrier, given to the subscribers and the money is slowly and introvienlsly extracted from them over a period of 1-3 years depending on how backward your mobile carrier is. (Sorry Canadians, I feel your pain.)
This pattern has repeated its self for a while now and has served Apple well, well that is until the iPhone 5. The point I’m getting to is that each iPhone has always been a refinement and an upgrade, one of what makes an iPhone basically a thing has changed. They’d all been roughly the same shape, same screen size and same connector. It’s not like retina. Retina was a feature, it was a nice to have. (All be it a almost impossible to have without once you’ve had it) The 3GS still worked just fine for instance when the iPhone 4 was released. However, with the upgrade in the actual screen size this changes things. Also there is no longer a 30 pin dock connector it is the new Lightning connector. This for lack of a better word is fragmentation. Something Apple doesn’t want but it was an ugly necessity of upgrading and competing with the Android gigant-a-phones.
Originally I thought this is why they were going to release an iPhone 6 & iPhone 5S at the same time. To move all the phones to the new lightning connector and screen size (or at least aspect ratio) within and in less than a an earth solar year. So the change would’ve happened like this.
Current line up:
iPhone 4 (30 pin) | iPhone 4S (30 pin) | iPhone 5 (Lightning)
To this new line up:
iPhone 5 | iPhone 5S | iPhone 6 (All Lightning)
While this is feasible, this is now thought to be unlikely. Possibly because they can’t get the cost of making the iPhone 5 in the iPhone 5S down cheap enough for those to become the third and second class devices, But more likely just because the iPhone 6 isn’t ready yet and even more likely again, the more affordable iPhone may be on the way…
So if Apple have been working on a more affordable iPhone this would be the perfect time to release such a device. Making the new line up something like this.
“More affordable” iPhone | iPhone 5 | iPhone 5S
This is obviously presuming that any “more affordable” iPhone would have the iPhone 5 style tall screen and very likely coming with a lightning connector. Presumably made out of lower cost parts and without extra features, such as faster radios, only available in lower storage sizes etc.
Thusly allowing them to ditch the old dock connector, screen and allowing them to deliver a lower cost iPhone to take on the pre-paid markets, which are far more popular in Europe and the east and may become more important in the US as “dumb” phones slowly disappear and all phones become smartphones.
What about that Apple TV SDK?
According to the analyst, this is coming very soon, but according to Loop Insight’s Jim Dalrymple (Bearded mortal enemy of the Canadian beaver and Apple Guru) he says “Nope.”
But he says Nope, to an SDK. That to me seems more likely. Apple wouldn’t announce an SDK. Not out of the blue. They didn’t announce an SDK with the first iPhone. They built their own Apps let people get use to the new interface and guide developers with what they expect in terms of design and usability. I think they would do the same thing with the Apple TV. Release a new software version (Note: The Apple TV is technically a software version behind every other iDevice, it will have to catch up sooner or later?) with the new interface that it was always meant to have. The current interface is clearly a “good enough” bridge to the proper Apple TV interface, it’s the “hobby” interface.
This new version may come with the new hardware and a new remote. A remote with the Bluetooth options they just added and with more input options. Be that Siri, gyros or just more buttons, I don’t know.
But they would release it, with just a few choice partners, like the ones they currently have. Vimeo, Hulu, Netflix etc. Plus a few more, say…the BBC, HBO and the like.
Just a bit more choice of content providers, a few more Apple built apps like a web browser, weather app etc.
Let it sink in what the platform is about, then release the SDK at WWDC with big players on day one of the store opening with Angry Birds, Real Racing and Infinity Blade.
And start the ground work for a fully fledged TV system late this year, or early next.
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