Apple Explains Why AI Features Won’t Work on Older iPhones and Macs

During the presentation of the Apple Intelligence feature suite, Apple announced that it would only be available on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, as well as Macs and iPads with chips no older than the M1. Later, an Apple representative clarified the reasoning behind this decision, stating that it was not merely a tactic to boost sales of new devices.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, was one of the first to address the brand’s stance. In an interview with Daring Fireball, he explained that the high hardware requirements of Apple AI are a technical necessity, not a sales strategy for the iPhone 15 Pro. Later, Apple’s Head of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, elaborated that executing AI tasks requires substantial processing power, which older iPhone models simply lack, resulting in very slow performance.

The iPhone 15 Pro series is equipped with the A17 Pro chip, featuring a 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast as the A16, achieving around 35 TOPS (trillion operations per second) in AI tasks. Federighi also highlighted another crucial factor: the amount of RAM. All devices compatible with Apple Intelligence have at least 8GB of RAM.

This focus on advanced hardware ensures that the AI features run smoothly and efficiently, which is why older devices, including those still popular in the USA, are not supported.

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