Gene Munster

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is likely to announce a new product in March or April, according to a new report from Pipper Jaffray’s Gene Munster. Hebelieves that looking at the history of time between Apple product launch events suggests that the company will introduce something new in March or April. Over the past two years, the Spring event has been iPad updates. While Apple just introduced the iPad Mini in October and made minor updates to the full sized iPad, he thinks that the Spring event could see new iPad body styles similar to the iPad Mini (unlikely there will be a retina iPad Mini given current iPad Mini supply constraints).

Munster also believes that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could update the Apple TV ahead of a television launch. All in, if Apple does have a Spring event this year, it may not result in significant new products, but he believes that the pipeline for the rest of the year, including a cheaper phone and a television will excite investors about Apple’s ability to innovate.

Apple Averages 4 Months Between Events Since 2009

Munster looked back at events where Apple launched a significant new hardware product (i.e. iOS/OS X updates at WWDC over the past two years would not count) and the time between those events. Since the June 8th, 2009 launch of the iPhone 3GS, Apple has held 11 major product launch events (including the 3GS launch). The average time between the events has been 123 days, about 4 months. The longest amount of time between events since the 3GS launch in 2009 was 216 days (about 7 months), which was the gap between the iPad 2 launch in March 2011 and the iPhone 4S launch in October 2011.

Muntster note that the iPhone 4S may have faced some delays that extended the gap between launches. Given Apple’s last event was October 23, 2012, a 4 month difference would suggest a late February event while a month break would imply a late May event. Munster believes that the most likely scenario is an event in between the two, i.e. March or April.

What Could Apple Launch In A Spring Event?

If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were to do a Spring event, Munster believes it would likely be incremental updates, likely to the iPad line rather than a significant new product.  Munster believes that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could update the full-sized iPad to a body style similar to the iPad Mini.

Additionally, he believes that the iPad Mini could get a Retina display, although that may happen later in the year given the supply constraints Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) faced on the Mini in the December quarter. In addition to the incremental iPad update, he believes that Apple could update the Apple TV, primarily with better software and an early take an at App Store, ahead of a television launch. He would expect to see an Apple TV update in the next six months if Apple plans to launch a television by the end of the year, which he still expects. Additionally, updated Apple TV software could “prime the pump” for the ultimate televison.