Apple’s Explanation of the iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for iOS 18 AI Features

Apple has announced new artificial intelligence features with the release of iOS 18, which can only be utilized on an iPhone 15 Pro. The company has clarified that this decision is not driven by a desire to boost sales of the latest iPhones, but rather due to the demanding computational needs of AI technology.

At a WWDC presentation, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber questioned Apple’s AI/machine learning leader John Giannandrea, marketing head Greg Joswiak, and software engineering director Craig Federighi about the exclusivity of AI features on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models (Source: MacRumors).

In response, Giannandrea explained that the process of running these models during runtime is referred to as inference. However, the inference for large language models is extremely demanding in terms of computational resources. This requires a combination of factors, including the bandwidth of the device, the size of the Apple Neural Engine, and the processing power of the device, in order to accurately and quickly perform these models for practical use.

According to Giannandrea, it is possible to run these models on an outdated device, but the slow speed would render it impractical for use.

Gruber inquired with the Apple executives about the limitation being a tactic to promote sales of new iPhones. In response, Greg Joswiak denied this claim, stating that they would have also implemented it for their latest iPads and Macs if that were the case.

Apple has emphasized that the hardware requirements are the only factor preventing the availability of Apple Intelligence features on older iPhones. The A17 Pro, found in the iPhone 15 Pro models, boasts enough power to support AI features. For MacBook and iPad users, a device equipped with an Apple M1 chip or higher is necessary to access these features.

Apple’s implementation of Apple Intelligence incorporates AI elements such as Siri, an AI assistant, Writing Tools for rewriting, proofreading, and summarizing text, and Image Playground, an app feature that enables users to generate images.

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