There’s a problem with iPhone AI that might hurt Apple more than it’s willing to admit

iPhone 15 Plus Dynamic Island.

The iPhone is the only product in Apple's lineup where Apple goes out of its way to avoid mentioning the amount of RAM. Apple has continued to upgrade the capacity and speed of its iPhone RAM over the years. Also, iOS is optimized to work with more limited memory availability. Often, the iPhone beats rivals with much more RAM in speed tests thanks to Apple's ability to control the hardware and software experience like that. As a longtime iPhone user, I've never felt like the iPhone had trouble handling what I throw at it, even when using iPhones that were several years old.

But no matter how fast and smooth the iPhone is, Apple probably doesn't like to mention RAM capacity for marketing reasons. Android phones used to have (and need) much more RAM. However, most recently, some vendors have tempered the memory upgrades, with Samsung being one example.

But now that the age of AI is here, Apple's RAM strategy for the iPhone might hurt the iPhone more than the company is willing to admit. The language models that power on-device AI — which is the kind of private AI that Apple wants to offer users in iOS 18 — might come with minimum RAM requirements. That likely means that older iPhone models won't get the latest and greatest AI features from Apple. After all, the only way to upgrade the RAM will be to have an iPhone 15 Pro or to buy an iPhone 16 this fall.

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