Here’s Why Apple Intelligence Needs An iPhone 15 Pro Or Newer

When Apple announced the iOS 18 software update on June 10 alongside the unveiling of Apple Intelligence, there was a lot of excitement about what the future will hold for the iPhone.

But there was disappointment when we found out that Apple Intelligence will only be made available to those with an iPhone 15 Pro or newer. And now we know why.

There had been a lot of suspicion about Apple’s reasons for choosing not to make the Apple Intelligence technology available to other models and some believed that the company may be trying to drive new sales.

However, in an interview with Daring Fireball’s Jon Gruber Apple’s AI/machine learning chief John Giannandrea explained that the simple fact is that the A17 Pro is needed in order to make Apple Intelligence run properly.

So these models, when you run them at run times, it’s called inference, and the inference of large language models is incredibly computationally expensive. And so it’s a combination of bandwidth in the device, it’s the size of the Apple Neural Engine, it’s the oomph in the device to actually do these models fast enough to be useful. You could, in theory, run these models on a very old device, but it would be so slow that it would not be useful.

The A17 Pro has a 16-core Neural Engine and more RAM than older iPhone chips which is thought to be part of the reason that Apple Intelligence won’t work on older chips.

The iOS 18 software update is going to be released to the public this September of course, likely alongside the new iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro.

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