Should Apple return to releasing iPhones in the summer?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| May 24, 2013

With May about to turn over to June and summer just around the corner, many people are eager to get outside and soak up the sun for the few precious months that we have before the hot summer once again turns into a harsh winter. Some are gearing up to go swimming, play sports, take vacations, and just enjoy the nice weather. Others are eagerly waiting to see what Apple has to say during WWDC 2013, which kicks off on June 10.

Guess which group this girl falls in?

WWDC takes place in just two and a half weeks, and speculations are once again high in the industry as people wonder what to expect from Apple. Over the past couple of years we’ve mostly seen software aspects discussed from the Cupterino-based company without any murmur of the next generation iPhone happening until later in the year during the fall. The last phone to be announced during the summer was the iPhone 4, which was announced on June 7 during WWDC 2010. The iPhone 4S was the first to begin selling in the fall season, followed by the iPhone 5.

Could the seasonal change in releases be part of the reason that Apple has been falling short of their own goals?

Thus far I’ve attributed much of Apple’s fall from the money tree primarily to the fact that iOS is boring and could use a refresher. Recently fellow Contributing Editor Chase Bonar has made suggestions as to what he thinks should change in the next iPhone in order to make it better. In fact, I’m pretty sure here at PhoneDog we’ve all made suggestions to help boost Apple in keeping iOS and the iPhone from becoming a sinking ship – readers included. And who wouldn’t? iOS was the beginning of a smartphone revolution and it’s always sad to see a familiar face get trampled over by newer and more exciting things. But that’s just it; iOS has become the old friend that you can rely on, but your habits and hobbies have altered for different needs. Customization, bigger screens, open developer support – all parts of newer and constantly refreshing platforms.

But I digress. Back on point, I feel like a stale iOS isn’t the only thing keeping the iPhone from progressing; changing the release date to fall was probably a huge mistake in the first place, especially for the iPhone 4S, which was only a continuation device. Nothing huge or fantastic, no LTE, and not even HSPA+ speeds. Just a dual-core processor and Siri smashed into an iPhone 4 shell. People who were waiting those extra few months to get their hands on an iPhone 4S were probably highly disappointed – I know I would have been if I was specifically waiting for the device. If I was waiting for four months longer than I normally did I would have probably expected something a lot… more. But I can’t speak for everyone.

You also have to consider that the beginning of summer is probably a perfect sweet spot to release any kind of high-end phone. As I mentioned before, people like to take vacations and spend time with family and friends in the summer. Kids are out of school, the weather is nice – it’s a perfect opportunity to take billions upon billions of pictures, and what better device to do it with than your trusty smartphone? At the time the iPhone 4S was released, I imagine having an iOS device sporting an 8-megapixel camera would have been a huge hit for those summer months. Even August or September would have been good because school was starting, and I’ve noticed a growing trend of kids getting new phones before the school year starts. But October? It seems like awkward timing. With no real commercial reason to purchase a phone until after Thanksgiving, October just seemed like a slow month to release the once-a-year iPhone. Except for that one really rich guy that hands out iPhones to trick-or-treaters on Halloween because he just has to one-up that neighbor who’s handing out the full-size Crunch bars.

I’m hoping to see the release of an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 5S during WWDC 2013. I’m not making any bets on it, but I feel that maybe at this point Apple should factor timing of the release into the equation if nothing else. It doesn’t sound like iOS is due for any major changes other than “flat” aesthetics, so perhaps a summer release could boost those sales just because aside from the holiday season, summer is the only other time during the year that people look for reasons to blow their money.

It’s 98 degrees today, and boy is it humid. You know what sounds like fun? Dropping $200 on a new gadget in an overly air conditioned mobile retail location.

I know I’m not the only one that frequently has this thought every summer.

If Apple isn’t willing to change iOS, then they should use time to their advantage. I think it might help. It also might not, but hey, what have you got to lose?

Readers, what say you? Do you think that Apple should stick to their new fall schedule, or should they move back to a summer release? Do you think one way would help over the other? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Image via ArsTechnica