Tim Cook talks new product categories, downplays chances of larger iPhone

By , Apr 23, 2013

Apple event 20111004 (iPhone 4S unveiling, Tim Cook closeup 001)

Apple’s Q2 earnings conference call just ended, and by most counts it went rather well. The company beat Wall Street estimates for iPhone and iPad sales, and revenue, and announced a huge initiative to return $100 billion back to investors by 2015.

So why has Apple’s stock fallen from its huge after-hours spike back down to where it started? Well, it might have something to do with Tim Cook’s comments on Apple’s product pipeline. The CEO indicated that we won’t see any new stuff until the fall…

Cook’s actual comment was that ”Apple has some amazing new hardware, software, and services coming this fall, and throughout 2014.” Obviously, this sparked some curiosity, and during the Q&A session of the call, it came up (via MacRumors):

Q: You alluded to fall announcements. Does that mean there won’t be big announcements before then or are you being more general?
A: Don’t want to be more specific, but we have some really great stuff coming in the fall and across all of 2014.

Does that mean that we won’t see any new or refreshed products from Apple until then? Not necessarily, but that seems to be the impression that analysts got. The good news, though, is that it sounds like the company has some cool stuff in the works:

Q: Did you mention new product categories in the introduction?
A: One of our areas for growth are potential new categories.

Q: Would that be in the next year?
A: We didn’t announce a specific time frame.

Of course, there’s been no shortage of Apple rumors regarding new products. On the hardware side, there’s been a lot of recent talk about the so-called iWatch, and iTV rumors have yet to die off. And as for software, iRadio chatter has been picking up steam.

And speaking of rumors, Cook was also confronted on the call about growing speculation that Apple has a larger iPhone in the works. But he was quick to downplay the probability of the company releasing a 5-inch+ smartphone anytime in the near future.

“My view continues to be that iPhone 5 has the best display in the industry. We always strive to create the very best display. Some customers value large screen size. Others value other factors such as resolution, color quality, white balance, reflectivity, power consumption, compatibility of apps, portability. Our competitors have made some significant tradeoffs in many of these areas to ship a larger display. We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these tradeoffs exist.”

While his point on larger displays sounds negative, this seems like the same kind of comments we heard regarding LTE handsets and 7-inch tablets a few years back. And obviously those products came to be. So I wouldn’t rule out a larger iPhone just yet.

I would have to say that my biggest takeaway from Cook’s comments is that he divulged a lot more intel than normal. Remember, he has a strict set of pre-prepared notes. So if he said something on the call today, you can bet that it was in fact intentional.

Perhaps he mentioned the fall timeframe for product releases in order to set expectations for Wall Street and the media. Keep in mind that Apple’s projections are extremely low for next quarter, which further suggests a lack of any big announcements.

But the list of things people are expecting to see this year is getting pretty lengthy. In addition to the aforementioned iWatch and iTV rumors, we’re also looking for an iPhone 5S, a budget iPhone, an iPad 5, a new iPad mini, and refreshed ATV and iPods.

Could Apple be waiting to introduce all of these things in the fall? What do you think?

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  • iBanks

    Doesn’t make me any difference, whatever it is and whenever it releases…. I’ll have it all.

    • Boss

      So if they make an iPlane for $250 million you’ll buy it day one?

      • iBanks

        That I will… But obviously my post was relevant to the article. In other words, all the possibilities posted above that could be down the pipeline, I’m on it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/L.Tempris Leviscus Tempris

        Too exaggerated. Look up most expensive iPhones. You’ll find it all there and done.

  • http://twitter.com/andyxyoona Andy

    I think for a larger iPhone screen, Cook meant that once they can clear all the problems, they will ship a larger screen.
    Power consumption and Compatibility is what i worry most, but if that’s been cleared, a larger screen would be so amazing (Not too big though… I don’t like “Phablets”)

    • http://twitter.com/Jack_maredit Jackson Grong

      JaaJ iPad 5 and iWach, can’t wait!!
      ..
      Iphone 5S, nahh no one really cares :D

      • http://www.facebook.com/L.Tempris Leviscus Tempris

        I do. Just because they always release a new is in the fall. And In the two years I’ve had apple products I’ve gone from iOS 3/4 to iOS 6. So if the math is right and hopefully they will have to make new software updates for iPhone 5s. One could hope further for iOS 7 to jail break. And even figure a way to bypass downgrading restrictions.

      • anasiatka

        I agree. Even if I didn’t upgrade to the i5, I’d still choose it over the i5s. That iPad 5 is honestly what I’m anxiously awaiting. It addresses two issues I have about the iPad 3/4 – weight and thickness. I’m also interested in seeing any aTV updates that iOS 7 may bring.

    • anasiatka

      Exactly. I’d even go so far as to say that he could have admitted to them releasing a larger iPhone by his statement. Remember, they are talking about Fall – and in the same breath mentions technical hurdles that need to be worked out. I can tell Cody was careful to completely dismiss the larger iPhone but still share his opinion at the same time. I think this is one of iDB’s best written article. Good job Cody bringing facts and opinion in the same article without mixing the two as is often done.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Novarro/1499444086 Alexander Novarro

      for me I would go from 4.0 to 4.5 inches! more than that would be unnecessary!

      • Ernie Marin

        me 2, i have big hands and sometimes even the 4″ gives me some trouble, but 4.5″ would be big enough, and still enough size to be a phone and fit in my pocket without any bulge.

      • anasiatka

        That’s not what she said. It all adds up. :|. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    • Liam Mulcahy

      yes!

    • bw00ds

      Haven’t actually held one or try to pocket one, but at least by the ratings on Amazon, those who have the S3s sure love them. So I guess it comes down to personal taste. Like everything else. I personally think 4.5 hits the sweet spot.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

      For me it’s about the device size rather than the screen size. By all means increase the screen by half inch but reduce the frame.

  • weztimonial

    Can’t wait.

  • http://twitter.com/C_LoS53 Carlos Morales

    I want a bigger screen… Or else I’m going S4. I have to be wow’ed because I’m getting bored of the same iPhone the 6th year already

    • Angie

      dont get an S4.. just go with an ipad mini and hold it up in your ear.

      • http://www.facebook.com/L.Tempris Leviscus Tempris

        They do have carrier support for a phone. There’s your phablet. I’m pretty sure this was intentional.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mehrabh Mehrab Haque

      Why bigger screen? 4 inch is the best size

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      If you go to S4 just because of the big screen you’re going to have a bad time.
      Android… what a messy word. Good luck my friend.

      Giving away iOS just for a big screen it’s a bad move.

  • seyss

    before iPhone 5 I said “3.5in is fine” now I say “4in is fine” well…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Novarro/1499444086 Alexander Novarro

      I’m a Apple lover… but I have nothing against good smartphones made by other companies…. I’ve tried a lot of them…(Google Nexus 4 is one of the bests) and still don’t want anything bigger than 4.5 inches!

      • http://www.facebook.com/L.Tempris Leviscus Tempris

        That seems to be the magic number here. 4.5. I’d be interested. But the phone seems a bit too tall. Was perfect before.

      • http://twitter.com/EddieLeonard エディレオナルド

        Im in the same boat, I have a iPhone 5 but I recommend the Nexus 4 to my friends and the S3 to others, But I for one will never buy a Samsung device because I dont like the company (excluding screens and things inside other companies devices)
        4.5″ is the largest screen size I would want also :L

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Novarro/1499444086 Alexander Novarro

        I actually don’t recommend S3 or S4…. because of the TouchWiz… I hate it… by the other hand I really like the google nexus 4 and his pure android…(still would be my second smartphone)

  • http://www.facebook.com/dante.arellano1 Dante Arellano

    During years and years we have the same action of s” now no one likes the shit of the same thing but with more pixels and all the shit cooks sucks as the hell there is no innovation just the shit of 4, then 4s dont work any more cooks has to leave apple

    • anasiatka

      Um. I couldn’t grasp anything from your statement. What were you saying? I mean I get some of it, but where is the relevancy to this article? At least by your comment I can’t find the connection.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Makavelli.1 Joseph A. Ahmad

    This should be a very interesting autumn indeed.

  • anasiatka

    Honestly, I think it would be a mistake to launch that many new iProducts at the same time unless iOS 7 (being the engine behind it all) is required for these products to fully integrate together. I could see them take the same 3 hour block, going on and on with a “one more” like they did at the iPhone WWDC. They deliberately made a big deal about the multiple functionality the devices they were announcing that day brought to market. I could see the iTV, iRadio, iPhone 5s and aTV refreshes all hang on to iOS 7 itself to sell each other. What I find amazing is that they also have Macs and MacBooks to refresh too. 7-10 devices announced at the same time? That’s a lot to swallow.

    • http://twitter.com/Lagax_ Lagax

      Yes. So Budget iPhone is defenetly sth apple will never produce. Donno why there are so dumb people, really not. An iTV is… Um… Possible… And well we’ll see if they will launch an iWatch. But yes, really a lot of products to introduce.

  • Jeffrey Handy

    New Mac Pro!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/L.Tempris Leviscus Tempris

      Really like the iOS theme of it if right about this.

  • http://twitter.com/JacobsLiveCA Jacob S

    “We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these tradeoffs exist.”
    This is what I heard out of that, if you need a larger screen phone go get a SHAMESUNG!

  • Bob

    I miss Steve Jobs being on that stage.

  • http://twitter.com/yashgorana Yash Gorana

    I SERIOUSLY DONT WANT A LARGER iPhone.

    4″ – 4.5″ MAX ! NO MORE THAN THAT !

  • http://www.facebook.com/Darkanio Daniel David Beecham Lazo

    anyone can tell me the meaning of “Fall” it always mean the end of the year?? or it may mean the end of a month to???

    • http://twitter.com/JarrydRichards Jarryd Richards

      Fall is what the Americans call Autumn

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1496513068 Zach Krase

    WWDC will be when they announce everything software wise and then it’ll all come out in the fall along with new hardware

  • Faiz Aly

    I have a feeling Apple will announce iOS 7, a major overhaul to iOS, at WWDC 13. Then, around September they will release iOS 7 along with iPhone 5S and iPad 5.

  • 4p0c4lyps3

    Not rlly sure why analysts even talk to Cook. For his answers, they’d have been just as well served not inquiring.

  • Milo

    No larger iPhone? Goodbye Apple. Hello Samsung!

  • Mcsquared

    Apple should make an elastic iphone that stretches when you pull the corners! that way you can make it whatever size you want!!