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With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple-WWDC24-Apple-Intelligence-hero-240610.jpg

These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will support Apple Intelligence. Since the news came to light, many users have been asking what the reason is for the cut-off.

In The Talk Show Live From WWDC 2024, Daring Fireball's John Gruber put the question to Apple's AI/machine learning head John Giannandrea, marketing chief Greg Joswiak, and software engineering chief Craig Federighi, and this was the response.
Giannandrea: "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.

Gruber: "So it's not a scheme to sell new iPhones?"

Joswiak: "No, not at all. Otherwise, we would have been smart enough just to do our most recent iPads and Macs, too, wouldn't we?"
Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi said that the company's first move with any new feature is to work out how to bring it back to older devices as far as possible. But when it comes to Apple Intelligence, "This is the hardware that it takes... It's a pretty extraordinary thing to run models of this power on an iPhone," he added.

The iPhone 15 Pro models use the A17 Pro chip, which has a 16-core Neural Engine that's up to 2x faster than the A16 chip found in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, performing nearly 35 trillion operations per second. Federighi hinted that RAM is also another aspect of the system that the new AI features require, so it is perhaps no coincidence that all the devices compatible with Apple Intelligence have at least 8GB of RAM.

Despite the cutoff, owners of older iPhones still have plenty to look forward to in Apple's upcoming software update: iOS 18 boasts several new features besides Apple Intelligence, and every iPhone that can run iOS 17 is compatible with iOS 18. That includes the iPhone XR from 2018.

If you still want Apple Intelligence in your pocket but don't have an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max, you may want to hold out for the iPhone 16 series, which is expected to launch when iOS 18 is released in the fall.

Article Link: Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence
 
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one more

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2015
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“If you still want Apple Intelligence in your pocket but don't have an iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro, you may want to hold out for the iPhone 16 series, which is expected to launch when iOS 18 is released in the fall.”

You probably mean iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max, as iPhone 15 is not supported.
 

kiranmk2

macrumors 68000
Oct 4, 2008
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With reports that the M4 chip has 12 GB with only 8 GB accessible to the user I'm starting to think that Apple Intelligence may not result in particularly great performance on M1-M3 with 8 GB and A17 Pro. To me it's likely that the "hidden" 4 GB on the M4 will be reserved for the LLM and the other supported chips will have 4 GB of their memory taken up by the LLM , meaning the device will be reduced to 4 GB for all the other system requirements...
 

BorisDG

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2021
410
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Bulgaria, EU
It's PR ********. It's just about the RAM - 8GB minimum. There are so many recent researches, that proves A17 Pro NPU is not much faster than previous year. 35 TOPS, but measured in INT8. A16, A15 ects are measured in FP16. So basically A17 Pro is 17.5 TOPS in FP16 vs A16's 17.

Also the "poor" M1 is just A14 with 2 more P cores. It's using the same old 11 TOPS NPU, but sure... no problem to run AI.

This channel is researching the topic deeply btw. It's in french mostly, so you have to use the translator.

To summarize: the numbers put forward by Apple were TFlops until the 17 Pro, calculations in FP16. Where it became Tops (1000 billion operations per second) because it is no longer calculated in floating point but in integer (int8)
 
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brofkand

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2006
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With reports that the M4 chip has 12 GB with only 8 GB accessible to the user I'm starting to think that Apple Intelligence may not result in particularly great performance on M1-M3 with 8 GB and A17 Pro. To me it's likely that the "hidden" 4 GB on the M4 will be reserved for the LLM and the other supported chips will have 4 GB of their memory taken up by the LLM , meaning the device will be reduced to 4 GB for all the other system requirements...

Remains to be seen, it is curious though that they restricted AI to only the newest iPhone chip. The M1 is supported yet has a weaker neural engine than the A16, for example - so it has to just be RAM if we do believe they aren't just using it as a scheme to sell new phones.
 

iBluetooth

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2016
698
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The things that companies make up to get you to buy their products 🤦‍♂️
In this case it makes complete sense. The AI models require a lot of memory, thus 8 GB makes sense and the calculation power for the inference. If they had known 3 years ago, that AI would have been all the hype today, they may have upped the memory sooner, but note that more memory reduces battery life also, not only increases the cost.
 

brofkand

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2006
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It's obviously a scheme to stop people from buying the current iPhones for 3 months.

Normies buying phones right now late in the cycle aren't the target for this feature - this is to fill out a feature list to make the market happy, and to get technophiles like folks on Mac Rumors to upgrade (as if they weren't going to anyway).
 

brofkand

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2006
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In this case it makes complete sense. The AI models require a lot of memory, thus 8 GB makes sense and the calculation power for the inference. If they had known 3 years ago, that AI would have been all the hype today, they may have upped the memory sooner, but note that more memory reduces battery life also, not only increases the cost.

Yet they didn't mention RAM in the snippet that Mac Rumors shared.
 

Fuzzball84

macrumors 68020
Apr 19, 2015
2,429
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It may be true that they attempt to run as many of the new features on older hardware (and apples support of devices is far better than many rivals). But they don’t exactly design in the RAM for iOS devices for longevity. They increase RAM in one generation, stick with it for 4 years or so and then have another jump. The effect is the devices at the tail end of that RAM bump are put in a precarious position of being relatively new but lacking in RAM for new features and iOS updates.

I guess the battery, power system, is also key here for their latest AI features such as Apple Intelligence. Despite the efficient design, the ML hardware can be extremely power hungry and I guess it would rapidly drain smaller and older less efficient devices. This of course is a non issue for desktops and much less of an issue on laptops such as the M1 MacBooks etc that have huge batteries relative to iOS devices.
 

contacos

macrumors 603
Nov 11, 2020
5,066
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Mexico City living in Berlin
Have you tried not being poor? 😜 It's painfully obvious that Apple really doesn't want people to buy the regular and Plus phones, they want everyone to buy the Pro and Pro Max models exclusively.

I used to buy the "Pro" but battery life was more important to me than a camera taking pictures that I cannot even tell apart from my previous 12 Pro max this time around. This is what I get I guess!
 

winxmac

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2021
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So, iPhone 15 and 15 Plus and everyone else gets most of the software features available in iOS 18 except for Apple Intelligence, which due to 8GB RAM requirement and faster Neural Engine in A17 Pro limits access to iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max until iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max gets released...

So, iPad 6 with A10 is limited to iOS 17 while iPad 7 with A10 can get iOS 18

iPhone 5s [A7] and iPhone 6 [A8] are both limited to iOS 12
iPhone 6s [A9] and iPhone 7 [A10] are both limited to iOS 15

In the future, iPhone 13 series may get cut off earlier than iPhone 14 and 14 Plus even though they all use the same A15 Bionic, and iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max may get cut off earlier than iPhone 15 and 15 Plus even though they all use A16 Bionic

Buying the repackaged iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max [iPhone 15 and 15 Plus] seems to be a very not so wise decision if you are planning to use the Apple Intelligence features offered in iOS 18... This is the earliest that newly released [2023] models are immediately obsolete...
 

SilmarilFinder

macrumors newbie
Jun 19, 2024
1
15
With reports that the M4 chip has 12 GB with only 8 GB accessible to the user I'm starting to think that Apple Intelligence may not result in particularly great performance on M1-M3 with 8 GB and A17 Pro. To me it's likely that the "hidden" 4 GB on the M4 will be reserved for the LLM and the other supported chips will have 4 GB of their memory taken up by the LLM , meaning the device will be reduced to 4 GB for all the other system requirements...
its not any RAM, its magical Apple RAM 🙌
 

brofkand

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2006
1,613
4,259
I used to buy the "Pro" but battery life was more important to me than a camera taking pictures that I cannot even tell apart from my previous 12 Pro max this time around. This is what I get I guess!

I totally agree - actually my latest iPhone was a 12 Pro Max and if I were to upgrade to a new iPhone today, it would be a 14 Plus (I hate the "dynamic island").
 
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