Apple Intelligence leaves iPhone 15 and 15 Plus behind: Expert Ming-Chi Kuo

In a landmark keynote at the WWDC 2024, Apple introduced groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements across its devices and iOS applications, marking a significant leap in smart technology. However, not all recent iPhone models will benefit from these advancements. Specifically, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, both launched last year, will be excluded from receiving the new AI features due to hardware limitations.

According to a detailed analysis by Apple expert Ming-Chi Kuo on Medium (via HT Tech), the primary reason for this exclusion lies in the differing hardware capabilities between the standard and Pro models of the iPhone 15 series. 

The standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are equipped with the A16 Bionic chip, which includes 6GB of RAM. In contrast, the iPhone 15 Pro models, featuring the A17 Pro chipset, come with 8GB of RAM, which is sufficient to support the advanced AI functionalities.

Kuo explained that the A16 Bionic chip’s 6GB RAM is insufficient for processing the extensive AI operations, as the device’s other functionalities already utilize this memory capacity. On the other hand, the A17 Pro chip, with its additional memory, can handle the AI tasks effectively. This difference in memory configuration is critical for the AI processing capabilities, making the A17 Pro-equipped devices suitable for the new features.

Furthermore, the M1 chipset, which also supports 8GB of RAM, is capable of running Apple’s AI technology. Kuo noted that Apple’s AI system relies on an on-device 3B large language model (LLM), which, even after compression using a mixed 2-bit and 4-bit configuration, requires about 0.7-1.5GB of DRAM to function continuously.

These insights underline the importance of memory configuration in enabling advanced AI processing. By setting high hardware standards, Apple encourages users to upgrade to newer models to access the latest smart features. This decision might surprise iPhone 15 users, as their relatively new devices will not support the upcoming AI functionalities despite being part of the latest generation.

As smartphone manufacturers continue to integrate more sophisticated AI technologies, the hardware specifications, particularly memory capacity, will play a crucial role in determining a device’s ability to support these advanced features. Apple’s move sets a precedent in the industry, emphasizing the need for robust hardware to keep up with the evolving demands of AI technology.

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Published: 13 Jun 2024, 09:51 PM IST

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