When supposed iPhone 14 features leaked in early September, some complained that the iPhone 13 wasn’t even released at the time. But an Apple vice president revealed that the company was starting to decide on new features for the iPhone three years before launch.
Which means Apple is probably already working on the iPhone 18. And most of the 2022 model’s features are almost certainly fixed.
Many features of the iPhone 13 decided in 2018
“Planning has to start about three years in advance, because that’s when we set the silicon specifications,” said Graham Townsend, vice president of camera hardware engineering at Apple, in an interview with GQ.
He was talking about the multi-year process required to upgrade the camera in the iPhone 13 Pro. But he also pointed out that feature development for the just-released Apple processor had to stop three years before its release.
“The sensor is set at this point and the A15 Bionic processor is also frozen,” Townsend said.
Some people seem to think that Apple is waiting for the launch of each iPhone before deciding what will be included in the next model. But well over 100 million units of iPhone 13 will likely sell next year. And you don’t make such a popular product in a matter of months.
The lengthy planning process that goes into such a popular device provides a very long window for details to escape. This is why it is possible for several sources to say that the iPhone 14 will replace the notch on the screen with a hole-punch camera.
And it does not stop there. An analyst recently looked far and predicted the launch of a foldable iPhone in 2024 (but not before).
You should definitely look at every prediction about future Apple hardware with skepticism. However, Townsend’s comment confirming a multi-year planning process means Cupertino is making key product decisions years before they reach consumers. And it is always possible that these details will be leaked to the press.