Is an iPhone 15 Pro necessary to access Apple Intelligence? Apple prioritizes speed over marketing efforts

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Gamingdeputy reported on June 19 that Apple grandly launched its new AI system “Apple Intelligence” at the WWDC 2024 event and announced that it will be launched in the fall of this year. iPad,iPhone and Mac platforms.

Unfortunately, the AI ​​system seems to have some limitations. Currently, the iPhone only has iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max Of course, the unreleased iPhone All four models in the 16 series will also support Apple Intelligence. However, since WWDC, we often see Apple users asking “Why set hardware restrictions?”


In the WWDC 2024 interview program, Apple's head of artificial intelligence/machine learning John Giannandrea, marketing director Greg Joswiak, and software engineering director Craig Federighi answered this question:

Giannandrea: “Inference on large language models is very computationally expensive. So it depends very much on the bandwidth of the device, the size of the NPU, and the performance of the device itself, so you need to have enough performance to run these models at a reasonable speed. In theory, you can run these models on very old devices, but they will be so slow that they are basically useless.”

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 this is definitely not a restriction imposed to sell new iPhones, right?”

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

Joswiak: “Yeah, that's impossible. Otherwise, as smart as we are, we would definitely set limits on the latest iPads and Macs, right?”

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 software engineering chief Craig Federighi said that all new features the company introduces are first considered to make older devices as usable as possible, but for Apple Intelligence, “this is the necessary hardware… It's amazing to run such a powerful model on the iPhone.”

As far as Gamingdeputy knows, Apple iPhone 15 The A17 Bionic chip on the Pro series has a 16-core neural engine, which is faster than the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus The A16 chip in the new processor is 2 times faster and can perform nearly 35 trillion operations per second.

Federighi also said that memory is another important element required for AI functions, so all devices compatible with Apple Intelligence need to have at least 8GB of memory.


Related Reading:

  • Apple CEO Cook: Apple Intelligence may make us use our phones less, the design of the Magic Mouse is crucial

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