It's Been Too Long, Apple

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) is in something of a dry spell right now. Excluding quarterly earnings releases, there has been a notable lack of official announcements or other events since the October slew of product unveilings that included the iPad Mini, fourth-generation iPad, iMacs, and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros.

In previous years, Apple would host an iPad event in the spring, typically in either March or April. When the company accelerated its iPad product cycle to October, the prospects of a spring refresh just months later became remote. With April quickly winding down, and no rumblings of a spring iPad event, investors are now looking at one of the longest lulls in recent years between announcements.

Don't just take my word for it; Business Insider put together a handy chart mapping out the days between events. Apple has now set the date for its Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, which will kick off on June 10. The WWDC opening keynote always includes hardware and/or software announcements, and this year will be no different. From the October event to WWDC, investors are looking at 230 days between product announcements -- the biggest gap in years.

Not all of the announcements have been major, such as the education-centric event in January 2012. Still, there used to be a consistent cadence of iPad, WWDC, and iPhone events spread out throughout the year. The lull is a natural consequence of refreshing almost all of Apple's products over the span of six weeks.

The lack of any meaningful product catalyst has only contributed to the negativity plaguing Apple, giving competitors something of an opening with product introductions of their own. Investors have been waiting for signs of new products, and Tim Cook strongly implied that new gadgets wouldn't be due out until "this fall."

The WWDC keynote will undoubtedly feature software announcements, which will notably include details on how design chief Jony Ive is giving iOS 7 a much-needed makeover.

It's also entirely likely that Apple will update its MacBook lineup like it did at WWDC 2012. The timing coincides with the timing of Intel's Haswell chips, which have already begun shipping to OEMs, and are expected to reach consumers' hands this quarter. Apple is rumored to be preparing to ramp up Haswell-equipped MacBooks starting next month, which could pave the way for a WWDC MacBook announcement.

However, Macs are now just 12% of sales, so this may not be the product catalyst that investors are really looking for. By the looks of it, new iPhones and iPads might have to wait. It's been too long, Apple.

Should you buy in before product catalysts give Apple a boost? The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.


Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2013, at 6:25 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    Tim Cook should be fired for letting the stock go DOWN when they had all that money they could've had huge buybacks! also his lack of aggressiveness IN producing new products and letting Samsung kick his ass. He needs to authorize that 58 billion buyback now before I hire an atty and sue him for falsely stating AAPL would buy back 10 billion in stock the last 2 years , but they only bought back 2 billion. So we know COOK IS NOT A MAN OF HIS WORD. I believe he tried to force AAPL stock down on his own so all the AAPL EXEC'S could pounce on it just before he authorized that 58 billion buyback and just before he released the iPhone 5 s, and other cheaper phones. AAPL stock has been intentionally manipulated by CNBC, wall street, apple exec's and the media

  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2013, at 6:40 PM, morgatil wrote:

    Apple needs to come out with something that is new and done right for everyone to copy and do worse and cheaper.

    I mean, they need to innovate.......

  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2013, at 6:45 PM, nextseason wrote:

    What are all the revolutionary products that Samsung is putting out every other month to be considered so superior?

  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2013, at 7:07 PM, demodave wrote:

    To say that investors have nothing for 230 days is just plain foolish (lower case). Apple announced increased dividends and buy-backs on Tuesday. That is an announcement specifically *for* investors.

    I'm getting pretty tired of Apple commentators who say "Apple has to do this ... or this ... or this ... or this". Apple knows Apple's business better than anyone. Period. End. Of. Story.

  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2013, at 7:23 PM, kramsigenak wrote:

    Brilliant Demodave. Exactly. However, I do hope their internal dialogue includes discussion of a 5" iPhone 6.

  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2013, at 7:23 PM, larryw101 wrote:

    Evan,

    Cut Apple some slack, okay? If their not ready for a new launch, then their not ready. To your comment, "it's been too long Apple", would you rather have them rush to market with a new product that in their mind is not ready just for the sake of pumping new products out? I don't think so ~~~~~

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 5:32 PM, nextseason wrote:

    Haven't you guys been paying any attention? If Apple doesn't launch a revolutionary new product by the date that some random analyst says they should, then it's a DELAY and the stock needs to suffer.

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