Apple Starts Planning a Future iPhone's Cameras Around Three Years in Advance

After the launch of iPhone 13 models, Apple's vice-president of camera hardware engineering Graham Townsend spoke with Robert Leedham from British GQ about iPhone cameras.

Townsend explained that Apple plans future iPhone camera systems three years before public availability. This suggests that Apple began working on camera systems for the iPhone 13 models in 2018.

Townsend says that planning must begin at least three years in advance, as this is when the silicon specification can be fixed. So, for example, the sensor is defined and the A15 Bionic processor frozen. This is when we can start to communicate with Jon and plan the experiences we want. We knew that we would be able to produce macro photos when we created the ultra-wide lens. How is this going to work in both stills and video?

The new Cinematic mode is available on all four iPhone 13 models. It allows users to record video with a shallow depth-of-field and automatically focus changes between subjects. McCormack spoke about the difficulties of creating this feature.

McCormack says that although it was slow and involved many windy roads, the process is still profound. "We don't just look at the depth of each frame. But there's also this thing called time stability. As we move between frames with people moving how can we ensure that we don't get weird edges or stuff like that?

The interview continues to discuss Apple's environmental responsibility, and emphasizes the progress made by the iPhone camera over the years.

Townsend says, "We are not asking for impossible but we are asking that camera achieves its best every year." "Over the last ten years, we have seen a dramatic increase in quality, but there is no stopping."

McCormack and Townsend also spoke to Jacob Krol from CNN Underscored, focusing on the simplicity Apple's iPhone camera aims for.

Jon McCormack from Apple's VP of camera software engineering, tells us that long before you press the shutter, the camera is already up.

A Stalman Podcast interview was also conducted with Townsend, McCormack.