Apple intelligence won’t work on hundreds of millions of iPhones — but it might be able to


Apple has announced This is the next era of it. Your experience using an iPhone, Mac or iPad will be guided by and filled with artificial intelligence. Apple calls it Apple Intelligence, of course. It’s coming later this year. That’s right: we have another “AI” to deal with.

You’ve heard plenty about how it makes Siri smarter, rewrites your emails and essays, creates never-before-seen emojis, and turns crude sketches into neat AI art.

it really is A A vision of the future. And, while it’s not groundbreaking, thanks to the usual Apple brilliance, it could be one of the most friendly, intuitive and useful implementations of generative AI we’ve seen to date.

The biggest problem for most of us, however, is that we haven’t been invited, and of all Apple’s devices, the iPhone has been the most affected.

To use Apple Intelligence, you’ll need an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max. A regular iPhone 15 won’t work, meaning mobiles less than a year old are, at least in this specific sense, obsolete. Mac users only need an Apple Silicon computer, meaning one released in 2020 or newer.

exclusion zone

A more cynical take on this is that these deprecation timelines are tied to the average upgrade cycle of phones and laptops. If someone upgrades their phone every year then that can be considered normal. Buying a new laptop every year means you are probably stupid, prone to stealing or just plain clumsy.

The reality is much more complex. The calculations required for at least some parts of Apple’s intelligence are quite different from the average iPhone or Mac task.

And all of this has been unclear to the average generative AI or chatbot dabbler until now because that’s the form we’ve all been introduced to. When you use ChatGPT, MidJourney, or even Adobe Photoshop’s generative fill feature, your own computer is doing almost no real work at all.

This is done on remote cloud servers, which perform the necessary calculations and then send the final result to your phone or laptop. In this sense, generative AI is much like a digital assistant to date, such as Siri or Alexa. It can do great things at times. But it actually does little or no work on the device it is used on.

Apple Intelligence will attempt to change this, at least partially.

Apple’s familiar privacy play

Why? “You shouldn’t entrust all the details of your life to be stored and analyzed in someone’s AI cloud,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said during Apple’s announcement of the new features.

“The cornerstone of the personal intelligence system is on-device processing. We’ve integrated it deeply into your iPhone, iPad and Mac, and into all your apps, so it knows about your personal data without collecting your personal data.”


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