Apple is savvy and disciplined when it comes to product announcements. So when there are reports from sources normally plugged into the Apple PR machine that a new product announcement would first happen on one date and then another, you might wonder what is going on.
Especially when the second date is the day before it has a court date with the FBI over writing code to unlock the iPhone from the San Bernardino shootings.
Perhaps this is coincidence -- it certainly could be. Or maybe Apple wants to upstage or distract from the court hearing to counterbalance the potential effect on general perception and shareholders. As with virtually any publicly-held company, share price is always a priority.
Every bit as important, if not more so for the company's future, is what will come. According to 9to5Mac, at least two products will be announced: a new 4-inch iPhone called the SE and a next generation 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The question is whether incremental evolution to the lines will give Apple the boost it is likely to need.
Many would-be pundits predicted immediate doom and gloom after Apple's last earnings call. Sales of the iPhone, which drive the fortunes of the entire business, didn't see a big leap year over year. However, the previous year had the double boost of new models, some with large screens, and a big push in China. That the company matched the performance was remarkable.
However, all is not well in Apple's orchard. Smartphones as a category have matured. There is some growth available, but not like in the past, and management tried to lower expectations for the current quarter. The iPhone SE will be an incremental improvement and replacement for the 5, so no huge change. (That will have to come with the expected announcement of an iPhone 7 in the fall.)
Unit sales of the iPad have been trending down for years. Many had complained that the new iPad Pro was too big to be really useful, so maybe the smaller version will help. But at this point there is little reason to think the new configuration will be enough to reverse the course. That means the company still needs its next big hit.