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Network World - Apple has just begun selling iPhone 5, which it just announced, and yet speculation mounts or possibly leaps, soars, explodes, skyrockets, mushrooms ... well, you get the idea: Everybody is talking about The Date for iPhone 6.
They're also rumoring about the ovoidization of the home button and Apple's Death of Innovation and the dismal prospects for the Next iPhone. Unless Apple turns it around and does something insanely great. Sir Jonathan Ive: Are you paying attention?
You read it here second.
"Apple needs the WOW factor: In order to re-capture the imagination of Apple fans, it's time for Apple to 'think different'
from its past product release trends."
-- Ed Valdez, Technorati.com, advising Apple on how to reverse its slide into mediocrity despite the fact it's selling more iPhones than ever before
This argument, by Ed Valdez at Technorati, hinges on the fact that Apple in October introduced what it called a fourth-generation full-size iPad just eight months after releasing the third-generation iPad.
"The remarkable feat of reducing their iPad product lifecycle by 38% from an average of 13 months to 8 months is a significant sign of things to come for their flagship product: the iPhone," Valdez proclaims, predicting that Apple will announce the next iPhone in next June, or nine months after the iPhone 5 was released.
He gives six reasons for this prediction. One is the by-now rather tired argument that "Apple needs the WOW factor." "In order to re-capture the imagination of Apple fans, it's time for Apple to 'think different' from its past product release trends," Valdez says. In other words, stop improving the software, the CPU, the resolution, the screen size, the connector dock, Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, adding more apps, and expanding online services for mobile users and instead do something awesome and magical and insanely great!
Valdez seems to think Apple designs products for fans. It doesn't. It designs products for people, who then become loyal users because the iPhone is the best product for what they want to do. The two most successful iPhones in terms of unit sales are the much maligned iPhone 4S and in all likelihood the almost-as-maligned iPhone 5, maligned by "fans" because these offered only "incremental" improvements. Those increments are directly related to the adoption of iPhone by people who are former iPhone users and those who are new users.
Valdez' other reasons for predicting a June 2013 iwowPhone are:
+ "Apple wants to lead, not follow." To compete with Samsung, "Apple needs a catalyst to jump-start its market share growth against its formidable foe."
+ The bulk of iPhone sales take place in the first three to four months after its release, and sales slow markedly in the fourth quarter as users hold off in anticipation of the next model. But the average product life cycle (PLC) of the iPhone is 14 months, according to Valdez. This is a recipe for bad things. "Thus, Apple needs shorter PLCs to continue to return value to its shareholders and deliver new value to consumers because revenue, profit and earnings shrink within two quarters after an iPhone announcement. No company wants lackluster sales for the vast majority of a product life cycle."