iPhone launch schedule may get big shakeup in 2021

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iPhone11
Apple might host two iPhone keynotes in 2021.
Photo: Apple

Big changes could be coming to the way Apple launches iPhone, starting in 2021.

Analysts at JP Morgan Chase published a new research note today claiming Apple is readying its supply chain to be able to launch new iPhones twice a year. The move would supposedly give Apple more flexibility to add new features over a six month period and better compete with companies like Samsung and Huawei.

Apple has released new iPhones in September or October since the iPhone 4s launch in 2011. Before that, the first four iPhone models launched in the summer. Setting the iPhone launch in the fall gives Apple a huge sales surge in the last quarter of the year that coincides with the holiday shopping season.

Changing iPhone release schedule

JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee told investors that his research into Apple’s supply chain indicates the company may switch to releasing two new iPhone models during the first half of the year and then two more during the second half of the year.

It’s unclear how the updated iPhone launch cadence would pan out. Apple may elect to launch cheaper models in the spring and then Pro models in the fall, or maybe one of each.

Chatterjee also gave his predictions for the 2020 iPhone lineup claiming Apple will release four new models this year. That’s one more model than most analysts are expecting, including the oft-reliable Ming-Chi Kuo.

The 2020 iPhone models are expected to add 5G modems as one of the biggest new features. Apple might also shrink the Face ID notch, bring back Touch ID and add more improvements to the cameras. Chatterjee predicts there will be on 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models and a larger 6.7-inch model. He’s the first to predict two 6.1-inch models, which we assume would be spiritual successors to the iPhone 11/iPhone XR line.