First the iPod Launches were at seemingly random times each year. In recent times like clockwork Apple would produce tweaked models, released around the world in September ready to stuff the stockings of eager consumers. Interestingly 12 out of the last 15 iPod Models were released at a September event since 2005 - arguably the time at which the iPod became a ubiquitous consumer device. Apple’s strategy was simple: aim for the time when consumers are cashing up ready for Christmas, have plenty of stock and their licence to print money couldn’t be easier.
The recent announcement of WWDC specifically said it would be about the future of Apples two platforms: OS X and it’s closely related brother iOS. Several industry sources including The Loop and All Things D are reporting there will be no new hardware announced at WWDC this year - when traditionally the new iPhone is released. To me this makes perfect sense. There was a time when Apple wanted more people to come to WWDC - how to lure them? A keynote with Steve Jobs announcing an amazing new product. The flip side: Apple would reach a target demographic wooing their developers who are also Apple customers with their shiny new toys. With WWDCs now selling out and selling out in less time each year (2009 sold out in 30 days, 2010 sold out in 8 days, 2011 in 10 hours) there’s no need for such a carrot to draw the crowds as it were. Let it focus on software development for their platforms without distraction.
Apples iPod business is slowly shrinking in size. The reason is clear - their other devices are taking the role of a music player to the next level with the iPhone and iPad. Due to competition with iPod competitors the iPod has become a lower profit device compared to the iPhone and iPad. Also, why would most people have an iPhone and an iPod? You can only have one set of headphones and although the nano can clip on and the iPhone can’t, there’s precious little else that makes the Nano a compelling proposition over an iPhone considering everything else the iPhone can do.
Now the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are becoming the hit products like the iPod was in 2005. Volumes are increasing and as competition heats up Apple want to position all their best products with a common release date running the same platform (iOS) at the sweet spot in September. It makes perfect sense. I guess we’ll see in September.