In a conversation with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón about adding a "kill switch" to the iPhone, Apple's government liaison Michael Foulkes let slip that the next version of the iPhone has already been designed. In fact, he said that the product had already been developed before Steve Jobs' death in 2011.
The San Francisco Examiner's Mike Aldax reported the original story about the discussions between Gascón and Foulkes, writing, "Gascón said Foulkes discussed the long and laborious process of researching and producing a kill-switch technology for devices, and also said the next two generations of iPhones have already been developed. 'They preceded Tim Cook,' the district attorney said he was told of the future iPhones."
The Guardian's Charles Arthur observed, "But while some – including Gascón – might be surprised by the idea of a company having a two-year pipeline for the design of a phone, others who have worked in the mobile phone industry emphasized that it is not unusual. Horace Dediu, who runs the Asymco consultancy and previously worked at Finnish phone maker Nokia, said it was not surprising. 'Having worked in a phone company, I think it's a given [that the phones were designed that far back]. Work under way now is for products shipping in 2016.'"
InformationWeek's Eric Zeman added, "The two iPhones references by Foulkes may appear as soon as June, suggest some analysts. The company is expected to debut a less expensive variant of the iPhone 5 by summer, followed by the iPhone 5S, an incremental update to the iPhone 5, in the fall. These new devices can't come soon enough for Apple."
The Apple Insider's Daniel Eran Dilger commented, "[The] revelation of the size of Apple's product pipeline does demolish the accusations of analysts and other observers who have been trying to establish that Apple suddenly went rudderless and blind the day it lost Jobs as its cofounder and former chief executive. Over the past two years, critics have cited the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 as evidence that Cook's Apple is wildly different and woefully incapable of remaining as successful as the company had been under Jobs, despite two years of financial reports and sales records that refute that flawgic."