I previously wrote that Apple should release new iPhones (both all-new “n” models and subsequent “s” improvements) when they are ready and not following a fixed annual pattern.
John Gruber has similar thoughts about iOS:
From the outside, it seems like Apple’s software teams can’t keep up with the pace of the hardware teams. Major new versions of iOS aren’t released “when they’re ready”, they’re released when the new iPhone hardware ships. On Twitter the other day, I suggested that perhaps Apple should decouple major iOS feature releases from the iPhone hardware schedule. That’s probably untenable from a marketing perspective, and it might just make things more complex from a QA perspective. But something has to give.
I have some additional thoughts on how Apple could benefit from a more flexible release schedule of iPhones. For example:
- Imagine a iPhone 6 mini being released sooner rather later (6 internals in a 5s form factor)
- Or a iPhone 5c 2.0 (a sturdy plastic model with 5s or 6ish internals)
Another point is that smartphones may have become a kind of product too important (vital, personal, complex etc.) to be updated with such surprise bangs. Like OSes, perhaps the next iPhone launch should be preceded by extensive, semi-public beta testing…