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Apple could soon copy Samsung and split iPhone releases into separate spring and autumn launch events, analyst claims

From 2021, Apple's release schedule could more closely match Samsung's, in which it releases Galaxy phones in February and September

Apple’s Fall event, during which it has traditionally launched its flagship iPhones for almost a decade, has become a staple in the tech calendar. 

Yet from 2021, this launch schedule is expected to be split across two events, one in the spring/summer and one in autumn, to help Apple produce more consistent, positive year-round earnings. 

 This would make the release schedule more closely match Samsung’s strategy, in which it releases its latest Galaxy S handset in February ahead of Mobile World Congress and then launches its flagship Galaxy Note device later in the year. 

Citing “supply-chain checks”, JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee predicts that in 2020, Apple will release four new 5G-enabled phones – a 5.4in model, two 6.1in devices, and a 6.7in phone at its traditional Fall event, but in 2021 the tech giant will make a significant strategy shift by launching two phones at the start of the year, and two phones towards the end. 

This would not only help Apple compete with rival launches throughout the year, Chatterjee claims it would help them “smooth seasonality”. By currently launching phones at the end of the year, earnings are weighted towards Q4, but by launching devices earlier in the year, its earnings would be more consistent all year round. 

Chatterjee adds that by staggering production, Apple will also be able to respond to customer demand for certain features more easily and directly offer rival features quicker.

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The release of 5G, for instance, put Apple on the back foot with the launch of the iPhone 11 range. A staggered release schedule would mean customers wouldn’t have to wait a year for features that are already available on rival handsets.  

Apple has toyed with this idea before. In 2014, it used an event in March to launch the iPhone SE and the much-rumoured iPhone SE 2 could be the first handset to be released in a spring/summer event in 2021.

Apple could use the spring/summer event to launch a more affordable range of iPhones and save its flagship devices for autumn.  

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