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Apple ‘assures’ us that lack of AI intelligence in older devices is not a selling tactic

iOS 18 and AI are not available for all
Last Updated on June 21, 2024
iOS 18 with Apple AI intelligence only available on select products, with older devices left behind
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Apple’s latest software update, iOS 18, introduced a new AI system called Apple Intelligence. However, this exciting feature is only available on the latest iPhone 15 Pro models, iPads with M1 chips or newer, and Macs with Apple Silicon. This exclusivity has left many users wondering why they can’t use Apple Intelligence on their older devices – and Apple assures it isn’t a selling tactic.

Technical limitations

Apple executives have recently addressed these concerns, assuring users that the limitation is due to technical reasons, not a ploy to sell more iPhones. Apple Intelligence relies on powerful on-device processing for advanced features like generative AI models. The A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro is specifically designed for this type of demanding workload, with its 16-core Neural Engine doubling the capability of the previous A16 Bionic chip.

According to Apple’s head of software, Craig Federighi, running such powerful AI models on a phone is a significant achievement. He emphasized that Apple always strives to make features accessible on older devices, but in this case, the hardware limitations are simply too significant. This was said while appearing on The Talk Show Live from WWDC 2024.

Incentivizing upgrades?

While Apple assures users that the limitations are technical, some skepticism remains. By requiring the latest iPhone 15 Pro with its powerful A17 Pro chip, Apple Intelligence could incentivize upgrades. Consumers who want to experience the new AI features might be swayed towards purchasing the latest iPhone, even if their current device is still functional. This could be a strategic move by Apple to boost iPhone sales, despite their claims that the limitations are purely technical.

A justified position

While some users might be disappointed, Apple’s reasoning seems fair for now. The company is not arbitrarily locking out older devices; the A17 Pro chip truly offers the processing power required for Apple Intelligence to function effectively.

Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Apple Intelligence is a new AI system available on iPhone 15 Pro models, iPads with M1 chips or newer, and Macs with Apple Silicon.
  • Older devices are excluded due to hardware limitations. Apple Intelligence requires powerful on-device processing that the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro is uniquely suited for.
  • Apple assures users that the limitation is not a sales tactic; the company prioritizes making features accessible on older devices whenever possible.

This situation highlights the increasing role of powerful hardware in supporting advanced software features. While Apple Intelligence might not be available to everyone just yet, it’s a sign of progress in on-device AI capabilities.

Tom is a tech writer with a detailed view on ensuring the best buying advice, most useful information, and latest news makes its way into PC Guide's articles.