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Apple Hardware Updates Shifting Towards Annual Refreshes

Over at ComputerWorld, Seth Weintraub (author of 9to5mac), postulates that Apple is steadily shifting their product release cycles to an annual schedule. The information makes sense, and correlates with actual industry moves being made by Apple, which we have been tracking closely over the past year.

macproconceptBased on the extended period of time it has taken Apple to address its desktop lines, specifically the Mac mini and Mac Pro, one could assume that a shift towards annual release schedules makes quite a bit of sense. Used publicly as the reasoning for withdrawing from the annual Macworld Conference and Expo, Apple said that the tradeshow did not align well with the company’s ability to control its own release cycle. Having a blockbuster product ready every January does not bode well for the company’s future or the company’s stock, and it puts another crucial piece of the puzzle in Apple’s control.

“Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Appleā€™s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways,” Apple’s Press Release explained.

For solidifying dates and time-frames, MacRumors’ Buyer’s Guide has been keeping track of such information. Still, Weintraub is right with his assertion that the lack of attention given to Apple’s desktop lines over the past 12 months suggests that the company is trying to get back on a steady schedule. One that they’re happy with.

“I think that Apple is looking to move their update cycle to yearly updates across all of their lines. It looks like we’ll probably see a desktop update in calendar Q1. Assuming that, this is what the yearly rollout schedule has been and looks to continue to be: Q1: Desktops – Q2: (near WWDC) the iPhone has recently seen updates – Q3: Has been all about iPods – Q4: MacBooks,” Weintraub explains. “This could account for the longer than normal wait times for new hardware products we’ve seen lately. Apple may be realigning its product matrix so that yearly roll outs are the norm.”

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