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Here's why the iPhone 15, 15 Plus won't have new AI tricks (it's not the chip)

Apple's iPhones have long managed with 4GB or 6GB of RAM, but that's not enough if you want fancy AI tricks.
By

Published onJune 23, 2024

apple iphone 15 home screen leaning
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Apple’s new AI features won’t come to the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus as they lack enough RAM, according to a trusted journalist.
  • The iPhone maker purportedly decided that 8GB of RAM was the minimum needed for its Apple Intelligence features.
  • By contrast, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus only pack 6GB of RAM.

Apple announced a variety of new AI tricks for its iPhones earlier this month, dubbed Apple Intelligence. Unfortunately, most iPhone owners are left in the lurch as only the iPhone 15 Pro series will get these features.

Now, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has revealed why the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus have been left in the lurch. It turns out less powerful machine learning hardware isn’t the reason, and it’s “almost entirely” about the amount of RAM.

‘The tech giant determined internally months ago that 8 gigabytes [of RAM – ed] is the minimum needed to run Apple Intelligence,” Gurman explained in his Power On newsletter. Of course, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus sport 6GB of RAM.

He added that Apple is upgrading the vanilla iPhone 16‘s RAM to 8GB to support Apple Intelligence features. As a result, it’s believed that all iPhone 16 series models will support the company’s AI features.

“This is why Apple is boosting the memory on the regular iPhone 16 this fall: to support Intelligence and frame it as a key selling point,” Gurman continued.

The Bloomberg journalist added that Apple’s AI silicon is “practically the same on M1 Macs and iPads, which do support Apple Intelligence, as it is on the iPhone 13, 14 and 15, which do not.”

AI and RAM: A familiar turn of events

This wouldn’t be the first time a smartphone brand skipped on-device AI features on a standard flagship phone, though. Google brought its Gemini Nano on-device AI model to the Pixel 8 Pro last year but skipped the vanilla Pixel 8 at first.

A company representative claimed that “hardware limitations” were the reason for the vanilla Pixel missing out. The two phones share the same chipset though, but the Pixel 8 packs 8GB of RAM compared to the Pro model’s 12GB. Google would later release Gemini Nano for the Pixel 8 as a developer option.

Needless to say, we hope Apple is working on ways to bring Apple Intelligence capabilities to devices with 6GB of RAM. That would mean hundreds of millions of users can gain access to these new AI features. 

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