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Apple’s first wave of AI features could be iPhone 16 exclusive

Apple is planning to announce its progress in the generative AI realm as part of iOS 18 during June’s WWDC. However, they may not be available on any iPhone currently on the market

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple’s “first wave” of artificial intelligence will be entirely hardware based, rather than relying on cloud processing. With that, there’s a chance the features might require some specialist hardware that isn’t currently available on the latest iPhone handsets.

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It’s possible the iPhone 16 might be the only way to access this initial roll-out of AI features, unless Apple’s existing A-Series chips have processing capabilities we’re not yet au fait with.

In February, a report regarding the A18 chip expected to power the iPhone 16 spoke of a vastly upgraded Neural Engine that “significantly increased the number of built-in AI computing cores.”

There will be major benefits to keeping those processes on the device, though, as Gurman points out in the latest version of his Power On Newsletter. Those perks include speed of processing and privacy, as the requests wouldn’t leave the device.

In the paid subscriber version of the newsletter, Gurman writes: “As the world awaits Apple’s big AI unveiling on June 10, it looks like the initial wave of features will work entirely on device. That means there’s no cloud processing component to the company’s large language model, the software that powers the new capabilities. This approach comes with some benefits, including speed and privacy.”

Anyone who has followed Apple’s recent history would expect the company to be extra focused on the privacy element of its AI proposition. However, echewing cloud processing at this point will limit the number of existing devices Apple is able to bring these features to.

The gap could maybe be filled by a rumoured partnership with Google that’d bring the Gemini features to the iPhone, while a completely revamped Siri assistant handles the key on-device tasks.

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