Apple might extend product development cycle

Apple is reportedly moving to a three year cycle for new products, instead of a two year cycle.

Currently, Apple uses a tick-tock development cycle for its products. Once a product is released, an updated version of the phone is released the next year. This started with the 3G in 2008, the 3GS came out in 2009. After that, every year Apple has been releasing a numbered model in one year (4, 5, 6) and the S versions the next year (4S, 5S, 6S). A totally new version of the phone comes once in two years currently, and the iPhone 7 is expected to launch this year.

According to industry news report in Nikkei Asian Review, all of this could change. The smartphone manufacturer is moving to a three year cycle for new products, instead of a two year cycle. The reasons for this include a slowing market, and little room for disruptive new improvements. The report claims that Apple will start following this new cycle from this year itself. The device expected to come out this fall will be based on the 6S and the 6S Plus, and will only have incremental enhancements to the camera and battery life. The water resistance will be improved, and the headphone jack removed. The next major device from the manufacturer is expected in 2017, according to the report.

This puts a wrench in the buying habits of those invested in the brand from a long time. Users have developed a variety of approaches to handle the tick-tock cycle, and are used to this cycle for the past eight years. Those who prefer to upgrade to a new version every year will not be troubled. Those who upgrade their devices every two years, to get the S versions as they launch, will however have to rethink their buying habits. These users will have to wait for three years before getting the latest version of the device, or be forced to upgrade to one of the incremental upgrades in a series, instead of the best model.

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