Apple Pushes iPhone 15 Pro Sales with New AI Features

iPhone 15 Pro AI

Apple is at it again, introducing new must-have features that conveniently only work on their latest and most expensive gadgets. This time, it’s the so-called “Apple Intelligence,” a personalized AI experience powered by generative large-language models. Supposedly designed to enhance your user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Apple Intelligence is being rolled out with iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia. But here’s the catch: you’ll need the newest iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max to use it. Oh, and only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips can join the party too.

The Justification… or Lack Thereof

So, what’s Apple’s excuse this time? Why do you need the latest iPhone for these features? During The Talk Show Live From WWDC 2024, Apple’s AI/machine learning head John Giannandrea, marketing chief Greg Joswiak, and software engineering chief Craig Federighi gave their best attempt at justifying this move. Giannandrea went on about how computationally expensive it is to run these models, saying, “You could, in theory, run these models on a very old device, but it would be so slow that it would not be useful.”

“Not a Scheme to Sell New iPhones,” They Say

When Daring Fireball’s John Gruber asked if this was just a scheme to sell new iPhones, Joswiak responded, “No, not at all. Otherwise, we would have been smart enough just to do our most recent iPads and Macs, too, wouldn’t we?” Sure, Joswiak, because that makes it sound so much better. Federighi added that Apple always tries to bring new features to older devices, but with Apple Intelligence, “This is the hardware that it takes… It’s a pretty extraordinary thing to run models of this power on an iPhone.”

The Hardware Requirements

The iPhone 15 Pro models are equipped with the A17 Pro chip. Featuring a 16-core Neural Engine that’s allegedly up to 2x faster than the A16 chip in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, performing nearly 35 trillion operations per second. Federighi also hinted that RAM is another limiting factor, noting that all devices compatible with Apple Intelligence have at least 8GB of RAM. How convenient.

What About Older Devices?

If you’re stuck with an older iPhone, don’t worry, Apple assures you there’s still plenty to look forward to with iOS 18. It includes several new features beyond Apple Intelligence, and any iPhone that can run iOS 17 will be compatible with iOS 18, including the iPhone XR from 2018. But let’s be real, without the shiny new Apple Intelligence, it all feels a bit underwhelming.

The Inevitable Conclusion

If you really want Apple Intelligence in your pocket but don’t want to drop cash on an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max, you might just have to wait for the iPhone 16 series, which will conveniently launch alongside iOS 18 in the fall. Because nothing says “cutting-edge technology” like a carefully orchestrated sales strategy. Bravo, Apple.

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