Apple moving to a 6-month product cycle for iPad and iPhone?

The Apple rumors keep on flowing, and this time it's a big one. According to China Times (by way of 9to5 Mac) Apple is planning to launch an iPhone 5S, a new iPad and a new version of Apple TV all in the first half of 2013.

There was a lot of talk and speculation (including from me) about the short amount of time between the release of the third and fourth generation iPads. Most pundits seemed to think this was just Apple adjusting their release schedule to take advantage of the holiday season and that we wouldn't see new hardware until Fall 2013.

If this latest rumor is true, then it suggests this isn't the case and that Apple is planning to maintain a 6-month update cycle. In the case of the iPhone it makes some sense; many of us base our phone upgrades on when we become eligible for a new on-contract price. If your iPhone account become eligible for an upgrade in March you're apt to wait until Fall for the latest iPhone. With a 6-month cycle Apple might be able to spread it's sales more evenly throughout the year.

Third generation iPad owners have already gotten used to their hardware not being the latest after 6 months; if the 5th generation iPad comes out in spring more users will become acclimated to the shorter product lifecycle and soon it'll be business as usual. (And you know some fanatical segment of the Apple faithful will just start buying twice as many products.)

So, assuming all this is true and Apple is going to a 6-month product cycle, what's your take on it? Smart move or not? Please leave a comment!

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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