Apple's Cook explains 'one-a-year' iPhone strategy, hints at future models at variable price points

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
At the D11 conference on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained why Apple doesn't release a host of iPhones with varying features like other major handset makers, saying that the tradeoffs in making multiple devices would outweigh the positives of making one solid device.

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook brandishes his white iPhone 5 during an interview at the D11 conference. | Source: AllThingsD


During the wide ranging discussion, AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg asked why Apple has yet to offer iPhone variants like the company did with its successful iPod lineup.

"When you guys did the iPod, Steve joked it was good to have products that was above five percent share," Mossberg said. "One of the things you did was to create a range of iPods, not just last year's model. You wound up with this whole range of things. You haven't done that with the iPhone."

In an in-depth response, Cook noted that creating a smartphone is an involved process, with many details that require attention to get right. Unlike a music player, the resources needed to develop and redevelop a lineup of iPhones would be a daunting task.

Continuing with Mossberg's example, Cook said that each iPod filled a niche, from the small lightweight iPod nano and iPod mini to the capacious iPod classic.

"My only point is these products all served a different person, a different type, they served different needs," Cook said. "For the phone that is the question. Are we now at a point to serve enough people that we need to do that?""Are we now at a point to serve enough people that we need to do that?" - Apple CEO Tim Cook on multiple iPhone models.

Mossberg countered by citing the rise of the "phablet," or devices with screen sizes in between smartphones and tablets. With the iPhone 5, Apple changed the handset's screen size for the first time since the original iPhone launched in 2007.

To this, Cook said, "A large screen today comes with a lot of tradeoffs. Customers are clearly looking at the size, but they also look at things like 'do the photos show the proper color? The white balance, the reflectivity, battery life. The longevity of the display.'" According to Cook, customers want Apple to weigh those benefits and make a decision as to what is best.

Preceding the lengthy answer, Cook was quick to point out that Apple may one day release a second model alongside a future flagship iPhone, perhaps with a different feature set and price point.

"Well we haven't so far," he said. "That doesn't shut off the future."

Apple has been rumored to be preparing a low-cost iPhone possibly made of a plastic hybrid material to shave manufacturing costs. Most recently, partner supplier Pegatron was said to be readying a massive hire of 40,000 additional workers for the second half of 2013, suggesting a major product ramp-up will take at that time.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    Please, Dear God, no bigger phones. Those "phablets" are a TERRIBLE size. Too big to hold, too big to use one-handed, too big to fit into a pocket. They are the very definition of disgusting.
  • Reply 2 of 79
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,198member
    I don't need a phablet or a cheap plastic phone and I don't think Apple needs them either. What might be good however is a limited feature phone, which because it is limited would be cheaper. Makes calls, sends texts, music player, camera, contacts, calendar etc. but no apps, no email or safari. An iPhone for those that do all their big stuff on an iPad and don't need a fancy phone.
  • Reply 3 of 79
    jakebjakeb Posts: 557member
    charlituna wrote: »
    I don't need a phablet or a cheap plastic phone and I don't think Apple needs them either. What might be good however is a limited feature phone, which because it is limited would be cheaper. Makes calls, sends texts, music player, camera, contacts, calendar etc. but no apps, no email or safari. An iPhone for those that do all their big stuff on an iPad and don't need a fancy phone.

    I see where you're going with that, but I think non-smartphones are dead as a business. That *would* be like the iPod nano, but there's just no business there when it comes to phones. Has to have apps.
  • Reply 4 of 79
    michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,912member
    scotty321 wrote: »
    Please, Dear God, no bigger phones. Those "phablets" are a TERRIBLE size. Too big to hold, too big to use one-handed, too big to fit into a pocket. They are the very definition of disgusting.

    Phablets? Sure... I agree that 5.5" to 6.3" is a little ridiculous.

    But people have been buying phones larger than 4" for quite some time... there might be something to them...
  • Reply 5 of 79
    A SMALLER feature-reduced iPhone would be awesome.
    Would bridge between iPod and iPhone.
    Could even be strapped to wrist.
    Why not?

  • Reply 6 of 79
    poksipoksi Posts: 481member


    "Are we now at a point to serve enough people that we need to do that?" - Apple CEO Tim Cook


     


    I think he gave the answer. If LCD yields problem is broken and I believe it is, then we can expect between 4.6and 5" iPhone in this year. Tim knows very well there is an incredible demand for such size as it was and is for 7" tablets. However, until they managed to make 7" tablet with not just right experience for user, but also without fragmenting the ecosystem, they just haven't released it. iPad mini immediately took over in sales over classic iPad, although it has weaker screen as big Retina. It is simple: customers want that format and Apple made the best device. I bet even one year after its initial release competitor will not have even remotely as good device as iPad mini. Buying 7" tablet that is not iPad mini is case for psychiatry. It will be same when iPhone Maxi comes out.

  • Reply 7 of 79
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    junkdrop1 wrote: »
    A SMALLER feature-reduced iPhone would be awesome.
    Would bridge between iPod and iPhone.
    Could even be strapped to wrist.
    Why not?

    Because Apple only allows development of the new AR, with 1136*640 pixels; the old AR with 960*640 has been retired. Eventhough I want the old 3.5" screen back, Apple is not allowing that anymore. Can't find the article, but it was posted here.
  • Reply 8 of 79
    poksipoksi Posts: 481member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post





    Phablets? Sure... I agree that 5.5" to 6.3" is a little ridiculous.



    But people have been buying phones larger than 4" for quite some time... there might be something to them...


     


    Agree. Just to add: Phablet could be done easily already, if Apple would wanted to.

  • Reply 9 of 79
    poksipoksi Posts: 481member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by junkdrop1 View Post



    A SMALLER feature-reduced iPhone would be awesome.

    Would bridge between iPod and iPhone.

    Could even be strapped to wrist.

    Why not?

     


     


    There is no market for that. Apple doesn't build products to ping the market as Samsung does.

  • Reply 10 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by junkdrop1 View Post



    A SMALLER feature-reduced iPhone would be awesome.

    Would bridge between iPod and iPhone.

    Could even be strapped to wrist.

    Why not?

     


     


    Because.

  • Reply 11 of 79
    arlorarlor Posts: 482member


    If Apple introduced multiple phones, would it risk losing the #1 single model claim?

  • Reply 12 of 79
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post



    I don't need a phablet or a cheap plastic phone and I don't think Apple needs them either. What might be good however is a limited feature phone, which because it is limited would be cheaper. Makes calls, sends texts, music player, camera, contacts, calendar etc. but no apps, no email or safari. An iPhone for those that do all their big stuff on an iPad and don't need a fancy phone.




    Don't most feature phones (whatever that means these days) still handle email? That seems like an odd feature to cut out.

  • Reply 13 of 79
    poksipoksi Posts: 481member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Arlor View Post


    If Apple introduced multiple phones, would it risk losing the #1 single model claim?



     


    No. Apple would just occupy 2d and 3rd place as well.

  • Reply 14 of 79
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member
    charlituna wrote: »
    I don't need a phablet or a cheap plastic phone and I don't think Apple needs them either. What might be good however is a limited feature phone, which because it is limited would be cheaper. Makes calls, sends texts, music player, camera, contacts, calendar etc. but no apps, no email or safari. An iPhone for those that do all their big stuff on an iPad and don't need a fancy phone.

    I'm sorry, but that's one of the worst ideas I've ever heard. Just.. No. Apples platform (iOS) has gotten more important than the hardware. Your proposal goes against absolutely everything Apple is about and would be nothing but a cheap, desperate madketshare grab that would pollute the very reason Apple got into the phone business in the first place. A wireless mobile product with no access to iOS or Apples services? No.
  • Reply 15 of 79
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member


    I like it. He seems confident.

  • Reply 16 of 79
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    hmm wrote: »

    Don't most feature phones (whatever that means these days) still handle email? That seems like an odd feature to cut out.

    Feature phones can do apps, email and web, they have for a decade now. Maybe not that well, but the distinction between a smart phone and feature phone just by what it can do is pretty fuzzy.
  • Reply 17 of 79
    I would love too see if apple can do something about Hulu I am us military stationed overseas and can not view it. It's hard to watch you favorite shows here overseas in South Korea
  • Reply 18 of 79
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,198member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post





    I'm sorry, but that's one of the worst ideas I've ever heard. Just.. No. Apples platform (iOS) has gotten more important than the hardware. Your proposal goes against absolutely everything Apple is about and would be nothing but a cheap, desperate madketshare grab that would pollute the very reason Apple got into the phone business in the first place. A wireless mobile product with no access to iOS or Apples services? No.


    That isn't probably what he meant. However a device with a limited iOS feature set would be a good idea, we already have that with SIRI etc.

  • Reply 19 of 79
    btracy713btracy713 Posts: 42member
    Dude, get a vpn
  • Reply 20 of 79
    btracy713btracy713 Posts: 42member
    scotty1971 wrote: »
    I would love too see if apple can do something about Hulu I am us military stationed overseas and can not view it. It's hard to watch you favorite shows here overseas in South Korea

    Dude get a VPN
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