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If you were expecting Apple’s latest foray into generative artificial intelligence to revolutionize your iPhone, your Apple Watch, or even your HomePod, you might want to hold your applause—or possibly your breath. At the recent Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple unveiled its much-anticipated leap into the AI future. Picture it as unveiling a shiny, high-tech spaceship that only a tiny fraction of Earth’s population can actually board. The news might leave many Apple aficionados feeling like they just got an invitation to a party they’re not allowed to attend.

A Narrow Slice of the Apple Pie

When Tim Cook took the stage with his characteristic enthusiasm, the promise of “profound new intelligence capabilities” sounded like Christmas in June. But, much like realizing Santa only visited the kids on the other side of town, the reality of this AI rollout is a bit of a letdown. Here’s the kicker: this sophisticated new system will only be available to users of the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. That’s right, folks, only the crème de la crème of Apple’s lineup will get to experience the full glory of Apple Intelligence and the revamped Siri.

To put it in perspective, let’s say there are about 1.5 billion active iPhone users worldwide. Current estimates suggest the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max users number around 100 million. This means a whopping 93% of iPhone users won’t be able to access these cutting-edge features unless they upgrade. It’s like hosting a blockbuster movie premiere and then letting only the VIPs in while the rest watch the trailers on YouTube.

Siri’s Glow-Up: But Not for Everyone

Now, let’s talk about Siri, Apple’s digital assistant who has long been both a friend and a source of frustration. The new and improved Siri promises to be smarter, more conversational, and capable of summoning ChatGPT to handle the tough questions. However, unless you own one of the select few devices, you won’t get to see Siri’s new tricks. It’s as if Siri’s finally graduated from an elite AI academy, but can only showcase her diploma to a privileged audience.

Beyond the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, Apple Intelligence will also make its way to certain iPads and Macs. Specifically, those blessed with an M1 processor or higher. So, if you’ve been clinging to your older iPad or Mac, dreaming of an AI boost, it’s time to face the music—you’re out of luck.

No Love for the Watch and HomePod

The disappointment extends beyond phones and tablets. Despite being devices that rely heavily on voice control, Apple Watches and HomePods will not see the new Siri or Apple Intelligence any time soon. It’s like upgrading the engine in your car but only for the sedan while leaving the SUVs and trucks to sputter along. This move has left tech analysts scratching their heads and users wondering when—or if—these upgrades will trickle down.

Future Promises and Lingering Questions

Apple’s grand AI plans are still in their infancy, and the company has been tight-lipped about when the features will expand beyond the initial rollout. There’s no word yet on whether the excluded devices might eventually access some of these functionalities through software updates or cloud computing magic. And for those hoping for multi-language support, patience will be key—currently, these features are slated to be U.S. English-only with other languages coming at a later, unspecified date.

The Analysts’ Take

Unsurprisingly, this selective rollout has sparked a range of reactions. Jason Snell, former Macworld editor, expressed his disappointment, highlighting the unreliability of Siri on Apple Watches when users need it most. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, who had a sneak peek at the keynote announcements, cautioned that Apple’s full embrace of AI is a marathon, not a sprint. He suggests that while these advancements are exciting, they’re not likely to drive a surge in iPhone sales this year.

The Bottom Line

Apple’s foray into generative AI is like unveiling a new wing of an art museum but only letting in a small number of VIP patrons. For the majority of Apple users, the wait continues, filled with anticipation and a bit of envy. As Apple slowly rolls out these AI advancements, one can only hope that the benefits will eventually reach a broader audience. Until then, most of us will be peering through the glass, waiting for our turn to join the AI revolution.

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