Apple hints at new products this year

They're coming, but don't ask when, or what, or how much. Apple isn't telling

Anyone who watches Apple knows how closely the company holds its secrets. No matter what the subject, the company only speaks when it has something to say.

So when it does talk about new products, people take note.

On Tuesday, as the company announced its latest financial results, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed what many have suspected: Apple will launch at least one new product in the fall.

But that's all the information he gave.

Despite that, his confirmation is likely to increase the chatter among the community of analysts, journalists and enthusiasts who scrutinize Apple's every move.

The time frame was probably deliberately vague. Companies often refer to seasons when giving out launch information because their definition is hard to pin down. A launch can slip by a few weeks and still be technically on time.

In a conference call following the earnings announcement, a couple of analysts attempted to tease more details from Apple. One tried to frame it as a question on Apple's forecast for the current quarter, asking if its predictions included estimates for any new products.

"That's not something I can comment on," said Apple CFO, Peter Oppenheimer.

Another tried to get an idea of the products coming. Does Apple have another blockbuster up its sleeve?

"We'll see," said Cook. "We're working on stuff we're really proud of, and we'll announce things when we're ready."

The list of likely new products is topped by a new iPhone. Apple hasn't updated its phone in almost a year and it's never gone an entire calendar year without a new iPhone, so a new one is a good bet.

The first four iPhones were released midyear, but starting with the iPhone 4S the launch time moved. The 4S went on sale in October 2011 and the iPhone 5 in September 2012. The timing can be important for Apple because its financial year finishes in September, so a launch in that month brings initial sales into the current financial year.

There's also been buzz about a cheaper iPhone, especially as Apple is seeing good demand for the older iPhone 4S in developing markets. And then there's the anticipated smart watch, the set-top box that's going to change the way we watch TV, and on Monday came reports of new iPads in different screen sizes.

We might not know what Apple's planning, but one thing's for sure: Expect the Apple rumor mill to crank up a gear over the coming months.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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Martyn Williams

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