Apple Intelligence aims to be the perfect excuse for something crucial for the future: selling more iPhones

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Apple Intelligence

Apple’s artificial intelligence will soon arrive in beta versions of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, but only a portion of current iPhone owners will be able to test it. The reason? In order to do this, you’ll need an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max. The decision does not seem at all arbitrary.

The NPU is the key. Unless you have one of those two models, you will not be able to access the functions that Apple offers with its new artificial intelligence system. The company has explained that in order to take advantage of Apple Intelligence, it is necessary to have chips with a sufficiently powerful NPU (Neural Processing Unit). The M1 and later have that power, but of Apple’s mobile chips, only the latest A17 Pro have that capability according to the company.

Why not in the previous ones? Apple does not explain exactly why you cannot enjoy those options on the iPhone 15/Plus, for example. The A16 Bionic are really remarkable chips, but it is likely that the AI functions do not have enough wiggle room in them to run smoothly, and here Apple has preferred to avoid complaints about disappointing experiences. The other option, of course, is that they want to use this requirement as an argument for selling more iPhones in the future.

Your iPhone 13 is no longer useful. The funny thing is that iPhones can usually access ChatGPT and other chatbots because everything runs in the cloud. That suggests that Apple could simply trigger queries on its servers directly for less powerful iPhones that weren’t able to run the local model. As analyst Michael Gartenberg at Wired notes, “I suspect this is the opportunity Apple has been waiting for to tell you that the iPhone 13 isn’t good enough anymore.”

Either you change iPhones or nothing. That will mean that those who want to access Apple Intelligence’s options will have to buy either the iPhone 15 Pro/Max, or wait for the company’s future models to appear from now on. If the same trend as in recent years is followed, the future iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will have the Apple A17 Pro, which will allow even these “basic” models to access these functions.

Sales will go up. This is according to Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, who explained that these AI options “should change Cupertino’s growth trajectory: they will drive an AI-powered iPhone refresh cycle starting with the iPhone 16.”

But not everywhere. The rollout of these functions will be gradual. Initially they will only be available to users in the US and in English, which means that this possible sales boost may not be so high. Unless, of course, in the rest of the world users also buy it with the expectation that Apple Intelligenge will quickly reach other regions and languages. Apple hasn’t specified when it will do so, but it has confirmed that that’s certainly the plan.

Perfect timing. If that prediction comes true, it will do so precisely at the time when Apple needed it most. iPhone sales have stagnated in recent months, and they took an unusual slap in the face in the first quarter of the year. As explained by the company’s managers, 10% fewer iPhones were sold than in the same period of the previous year, the largest drop in sales since the summer of 2020.

AI to the rescue. The arguments for changing mobile phones have not been so powerful for a long time. With hardly any changes in their designs, manufacturers shielded themselves above all in the new processors and cameras. People could extend the life of their smartphones, but AI can now become that “killer app” that allows sales to be boosted again. That’s certainly what Apple is probably hoping for.

Related: Apple would be knocking on Google’s door to implement Gemini AI in Siri



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