If the iPhone X feels like something out of the future, that’s because it is—sort of. Apple SVP of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio, opened up about the device in an interview with Mashable, revealing it was originally intended to be released as the company’s flagship in 2018.
That could explain why the company released the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X in the same year. Riccio said the original roadmap would have seen the device introduced next year, but “with a lot of hard work, talent, grit, and determination we were able to deliver them this year.”
With the shortened timeframe, Riccio admitted the company had virtually no wiggle room to mess up or even consider alternative features. One such feature Apple didn’t entertain was a fingerprint sensor beneath the iPhone X’s display. Apparently, the plan all along was to make Face ID the highlight.
On ditching the home button, Apple’s Phil Schiller said. “That is so, so, so, so like [Apple], like other things we’ve done.”
“We didn’t replace it because it didn’t work well,” Schiller said. “We replaced it because we wanted to do something else and therefore the bar was super high that it had to be great.”
Riccio said the design for the iPhone X was locked in a year ago, leaving the company no room for any last minute changes. If things didn’t work, it would have left Apple up a creek with no paddle, so to speak. (Or, at the very least, with only the iPhone 8 as its flagship product against the Galaxy S8.)
Riccio never reveals why the company decided to push the iPhone X’s release up a year, but one can surmise that it was pressure from its biggest rivals that inspired Apple to step up. Whatever the case, shipments for the device have already been pushed into mid-December, proving that it’s already in high demand among consumers.
The iPhone X officially launches in stores for $999 on Friday, November 3.