Why Apple Is Desperate For A New Product

Apple made two big product timing announcements in the last two days.

On last night’s earnings call, Tim Cook said new products aren’t coming until the fall of this year.

This morning, the company announced WWDC, the developer conference where it previews the upcoming versions of iPhone and Mac software, will happen June 10. 

The last time Apple executives were on stage talking about new products was October 23, 2012. This means Apple is going to spend 8 months, or 230 days, between on stage product announcements.

This is a big gap, relative to its recent release pattern, as you can see in the chart we have in this post.

There’s a few ways to think about this product gap.

From a purely financial standpoint, it’s not good. Apple will have nothing new to goose its sales and profits. It gives rivals eight months to introduce new products that can sap at Apple’s core business.

That’s why it forecasted a midpoint revenue revenue guidance of $34.5 billion for the June 2013 quarter, which is a 1% drop on a year-over-year basis. It also guided to EPS of $7 for the quarter, a 25% decline.

From a product standpoint, it suggests Apple is working on some big, new stuff. Otherwise, why the delay? If Apple is really going to release just an iPhone 5S, then why not put it out sooner?

Either way, this gap is unusual, and it can create some anxiety for shareholders.

Tim Cook is not a visionary with a proven track record of leading, developing, and delivering world-changing technology products.

Even Steve Jobs said of Cook, “Tim’s not a product person, per se.”

That said, we don’t think Jobs hands over his company to someone he doesn’t have full faith in. So, while he may not have been a product person, he’s smart enough to surround himself with product people.

Still, Apple could take eight months, or more, to deliver something that turns out to be a dud. Or, it could just be evolutionary.

For the next two months, investors will have to render a verdict on what they think Cook is building.

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