Visualizing Apple Product Release Patterns
Updated 6/4/19 (after WWDC)
Apple's customers and the press expect new hardware product updates for each product category from Apple every year, but Apple's corporate secrecy makes it difficult to predict when new products will be released. Complicated, scattered data, put together here for easy reference. Starting with data from 2007, these designs use an annual calendar data visualization to clearly show both product announcements and release dates for Apple's major products. The patterns were easier to understand when the product categories were broken apart into separate infographics.
Bookmark and return to this page in the future as it will be updated as new products are announced and released. Please share any suggestions or feedback for future revisions in the comments on the blog post.
Predicting the Next iPhone Release Based on History
Here's a simple data visualization graphic that highlights one specific insight learned from the larger visuals below. The iPhone releases have followed a distinctive timing pattern for the last six years, which we can use to predict the 2019 iPhone release. Apple consistently avoids holding their event on September 11th, and we have enough history that the layout of dates in September has begun to repeat. So, the layout of days in 2019 matches the layout from 2013.
iPhone Release Pattern
In 2011 when Tim Cook took over as Apple’s CEO, Apple shifted the release dates for iPhones to annual September launch events. You can also see a consistent pattern of the announcement one week, and the products released the following Friday.
iPad Release Pattern
Apple’s iPads don’t have the same repeatable pattern as iPhones, but the last four years have seen a consistent iPad announcement in March.
Apple Watch Release Pattern
Since 2016, new Apple Watch hardware has consistently been announced at the iPhone Events in September every year.
Apple TV Release Pattern
MacBook Pro Release Pattern
MacBook Pros have been regularly getting updates once a year, but not in any particularly consistent month.
MacBook Air Release Pattern
iMac Release Pattern
Lately, the iMacs have only been getting updates every other year.
Mac Pro Release Pattern
No pattern here. Apple releases new Mac Pros only when they feel like it. The last three announcements (dating all the way back to 2012) happen at WWDC in June.
Mac Mini Release Pattern
Apple Combined Release Patterns
Here is one showing all of the Apple products together. Although the individual patterns are hard to identify, in aggregate you can see that Apple generally avoids any product launches during Jan-Feb and Nov-Dec.
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