Rene Ritchie of iMore:
The “iPhone 5S” problem is the idea that Apple has become predictable coupled with the perception that the next big thing might just come from somewhere else.
Agreed. But it’s also important to remember that the lack of huge, sweeping changes every year is a strength in some ways as well. Ritchie hits on the economies of scale aspect. Another: consumers (and to some extent, developers) already know and understand what they’re going to get with the iPhone. With some of these other new devices, it’s a total crapshoot. It’s “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” versus “new”.
Of course, not changing things or adapting is a recipe for disaster long term. But it’s not really that Apple isn’t changing things, they’re just doing so methodically and sweating out the details as ticks lead to tocks.
I do definitely agree that it hurts Apple in some ways to be too predictable with release cycles. But I also think it would be a mistake to get too cute there. Release things when they’re done. Not too soon, not too late. Product perfection will always trumps timing.