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If history repeats itself, Apple's next three months will be amazing

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More so than many large companies, Apple is a creature of habit. That's why it's easy to recommend against buying a new MacBook or iPad if history says that a new model is just around the corner. But when the company has a particularly slow stretch, like the one Apple is currently in, the doomsayers begin to ring their bells and light their fires. But after looking at the current slump in historical context, things look much different.

I wanted to see just how slow Apple's recently-concluded Q2 actually was in comparison to recent years, and it pans out like this:

2011

Q1 9/26/10 - 12/25/10

  • MacBook Air (refresh)
  • iLife '11

Q2 12/26/10 - 3/26

  • iPhone 4 (CDMA model)
  • MacBook Pro (refresh)
  • iPad 2

Q3 3/27 - 6/25

  • iMac (refresh)
  • AirPort Extreme (5th gen)
  • Time Capsule (4th gen)

Q4 6/26 - 9/24

  • MacBook Air (refresh)
  • Mac Mini (refresh)
  • Thunderbolt Display
  • OS X 10.7 Lion

2012

Q1 9/25 - 12/31

  • iOS 5
  • iCloud
  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 4 (8GB model)
  • MacBook Pro (refresh)

Q2 1/1 - 3/31

  • iBook Author
  • iPad (3rd gen)
  • Apple TV (3rd gen)

Q3 4/1 - 6/30

  • Mac Pro (refresh)
  • MacBook Air (refresh)
  • MacBook Pro (refresh)
  • MacBook Pro (3rd gen)
  • AirPort Express (2nd gen)

Q4 7/1 - 9/29

  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
  • iPod Touch (4th gen, 16GB model)
  • iOS 6
  • iPhone 5

2013

Q1 9/30 - 12/29

  • iPod Touch (5th gen)
  • iPod Nano (7th gen)
  • Mac Mini (refresh)
  • MacBook Pro (3rd gen, 13" model)
  • iPad mini
  • iPad (4th gen)
  • iMac (refresh)

Q2 12/30 - 3/30

  • MacBook Pro (3rd gen, Retina)

Q3 3/31 - 6/29

  • iPod Touch (5th gen, 16GB model)
  • AirPort Extreme (6th gen)
  • Time Capsule (5th gen)
  • MacBook Air (refresh)

Q4 6/30 - 9/28

  • iOS 7
  • iPhone 4s (8GB model)
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iMac (refresh)

2014

Q1 9/29-12/28

  • MacBook Pro (refresh, Retina)
  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks
  • iWork (2013)
  • iLife (2013)
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini (2nd gen)
  • Mac Pro (new model)

Q2 12/29 - 3/30

  • iPhone 5c (8GB model)

As you can see, Q2 2014 has been particularly barren, and anyone who follows Apple news can tell you it's a wasteland out there in terms of new products. But if you keep digging even further back in search of a quarter that resembles the one Apple just concluded, you'll find something interesting.

The quarter that most closely resembles Q2 2014 is Q2 2007, which ran from December 31st, 2006 until March 31st, 2007. For the first 80 days of the quarter, Apple launched absolutely nothing. On the 81st day, the company launched a new product category with the 1st generation Apple TV. The next quarter it launched the original iPhone. We all know how that turned out.

I'm not making a prediction one way or another here, but if we use history as a guide, the last horribly plodding stretch for Apple was punctuated by not one, but two new product categories -- both of which are still around today. So keep your chin up for Q3, because it might be a doozy.

[Photo credit: Mark Doliner]

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