Last week, Apple unveiled a new version of its iOS operating system at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) that will include more artificial intelligence features. But most iPhone users will not be able to get these latest technological developments. Tim Cook and his team are pushing toward a future of artificial intelligence smartphones, but the current iPhone lineup is ill-suited to bring so-called Apple Intelligence to a broader audience, leaving many users behind, Forbes writes.

Apple Intelligence will be integrated into iOS 18, which supports iPhones from the last six years, including the iPhone Xr and iPhone Xs released in October 2018. However, the AI features will only be available on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, the only Apple smartphones equipped with the Apple Silicon A17 Pro chip.

Apple's AI strategy will leave millions of iPhone users behind

This decision deprives hundreds of millions of iPhone users of access to the latest artificial intelligence technology. In contrast, the Apple Mac platform supports Apple Intelligence on all Mac computers with processors from the first Apple M1 to the latest M4. Competitors such as Samsung have also managed to port their Galaxy AI, introduced in January 2024, to older models, including the Galaxy S23 line, Fold5 and Flip5 smartphones, and Tab 9 tablets.

Integrating AI requires processors with special silicon to accelerate AI performance, a task that Apple’s Neural Engine is designed to handle. However, a critical issue is the amount of RAM. Without sufficient RAM, it is impossible to run AI applications on mobile devices with acceptable performance.

Apple has traditionally kept iPhone specifications somewhat opaque, often citing iOS’s lower RAM requirements compared to Android as justification for using less memory. This has contributed to Apple’s financial success by reducing production costs. However, this approach now limits the ability of older iPhones to support advanced AI features.

For the millions of iPhone users who haven’t invested in the latest models since September 2023, this means they won’t be able to experience the full potential of Apple Intelligence. Many users who expected their devices to have AI features now realize that their older iPhones do not have enough RAM to support these features, which reduces the quality of their experience.

From a business perspective, this strategy could help boost sales of new iPhones, as users who want the latest AI features will be forced to upgrade their devices. However, for those who cannot purchase the latest models, this creates a sense of frustration and isolation.

Ultimately, while Apple’s recent advances in AI offer exciting possibilities, the decision to limit these features to only the newest models highlights a growing divide in the iPhone user base. Millions of people are left with devices that cannot fully utilize the latest technology, highlighting a significant flaw in Apple’s current hardware strategy.