The AI features available in Apple Intelligence starting from iOS 18 require at least an iPhone 15 Pro, or a Mac or iPad with an M1 chip. Is this a tactic to push you into buying a new model? According to Apple, definitely not.

The controversial topic was addressed during a live talk show at WWDC 2024. John Gruber from the blog Daring Fireball asked senior Apple employees about the reasons behind the chosen hardware requirements:

According to Apple’s head of AI, John Giannandrea, theoretically, Apple Intelligence could run on older devices. However, the AI would be too slow to be truly useful.

Not a Sales Trick?
“So, it’s not a ploy to sell more iPhones?” – when Gruber pressed for details, marketing chief Greg Joswiak, undoubtedly prepared for this question, responded: “No, not at all. [Otherwise] we would have been smart enough to consider only our latest iPads and Macs, wouldn’t we?”

This is indeed a valid point since Apple’s tablets and computers with M1 chips have been around for a few years. In the case of Macs, Apple is now two chip generations ahead, and the iPad Pro already comes with an M4 chip.

And even for the iPhone 15 Pro, Apple Intelligence isn’t a given. It wouldn’t have surprised many if the AI had been available only starting with the iPhone 16. After all, Apple has previously withheld less demanding new features from older devices.

iPhone 15 Pro Truly Necessary
“This is the hardware that is necessary…” said software chief Craig Federighi, who also assured that Apple always strives to make new features available on older devices. It is a “pretty extraordinary thing” that such powerful AI models run on iPhones at all.