That Nikkei report claiming that Apple is moving to a three-year cycle on major iPhone refreshes would be huge news if true.

Apple currently has a very well-established ‘tick-tock’ cycle where we see a new form-factor every two years, and new features within the same casing on alternate years. That’s a very efficient approach: Apple generates new demand each year without having the pressure to design a whole new model each time.

Some will upgrade every single year; others will be more influenced by design, and buy in ‘tick’ years; others will be more concerned about features, and will buy in ‘tock’ years. The result is that every year, you have a bunch of customers eager to buy.

A switch to a three-year cycle would seem a dangerous one – so could it really be true, or is something else going on … ?

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