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The biggest ever change to Apple’s iPhone strategy could start in 2021

Apple is planning on splitting its flagship release schedules, moving away from the traditional annual launches, according to one noted analyst.

The well-known JP Morgan tipster Samik Chatterjee says that once the 2020 release schedule is out of the way, Apple will move to bi-annual releases of iPhone handsets. That’ll mean two releases in the spring of 2021 and two in the autumn of 2021, according to Chatterejee.

In a note to investors (via 9to5Mac), he wrote: “Based on our supply chain checks, we are expecting a strategic change in the launch cadence with the release of two new iPhone models in 1H21 followed by another two in 2H21, which will serve to smooth seasonality around the launch.”

Barring the launch of the iPhone SE in March of 2016, Apple has strictly abided by annual launches for its iPhone handsets, which have occurred in September on the vast majority of occasions. Such a change would represent the biggest shift in Apple’s handset strategy in the history of the range, which first arrived on the scene in 2007.

The thinking behind the potential change isn’t known at this time, but it would allow Apple to make more changes to its products and incrementally improve them rather than the big annual upgrade. There have been rumours of the company moving to a hardware subscription model in the last month or so, which could play into bi-annual launches.

When quizzed about the possibility during the last quarterly earnings meeting, Cook said: “In terms of hardware as a service or as a bundle, if you will, there are customers today that essentially view the hardware like that because they’re on upgrade plans and so forth. So to some degree that exists today.”

He added: “My perspective is that will grow in the future to larger numbers. It will grow disproportionately.”

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