Apple’s iPhone Lineup Faces Potential Changes with iOS 18 Update

Apple’s upcoming iOS 18 update is expected to bring a host of new features powered by artificial intelligence (AI). However, rumors suggest that some current iPhones may not have the processing power to support on-device AI capabilities, potentially requiring offloading to the cloud. This raises questions about Apple’s future iPhone lineup and how it will cater to the best iOS 18 experience.

Based on Apple’s usual pattern of reshuffling its lineup, it is anticipated that the iPhone 16 models will be introduced this fall, accompanied by price reductions for certain existing devices. The base model iPhone, along with one other model (such as the Plus variant), is likely to remain available, while the Pro models will be discontinued. Additionally, phones older than two years will no longer be sold.

Considering the current iPhone lineup, which includes the iPhone 15 models, iPhone 14, and iPhone SE (2022), it is expected that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will continue to be offered at reduced prices. The iPhone 14 may also receive a price cut, while the iPhone 13 is likely to be phased out. The fate of the iPhone 14 Plus remains uncertain, although Apple’s past actions suggest it may follow the same path as the iPhone 13 mini, which was discontinued after an additional year.

However, the introduction of iOS 18 brings a significant change to the equation. Reports indicate that not all AI features in the update will be compatible with every available device. Ideally, all features would run directly on the iPhone, ensuring data security and faster performance. However, it appears that many older iPhones lack the necessary processing capabilities for on-device AI, requiring reliance on cloud-based servers.

During the upcoming WWDC 2024 event, Apple is expected to provide a preview of iOS 18, potentially shedding light on the performance differences between on-device AI and cloud-based features. If the reports hold true, only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, equipped with an A17 Pro chipset, would fully support iOS 18’s AI capabilities. All new iPhone 16 models are anticipated to feature the yet-to-be-announced A18 silicon.

Considering these circumstances, it is suggested that Apple adjusts its phone lineup plans accordingly. If the iPhone 15 Pro models can deliver the complete iOS 18 experience without relying on the cloud, they should remain in the lineup alongside the iPhone 16 models. Offering the current Pro at a discounted price of $899 and the Pro Max at $1,099 would provide potential customers with a discount without significantly impacting iPhone 16 Pro sales.

The iPhone 15 could also be retained at a $100 discount, although a $200 markdown might be preferable if the iOS 18 experience is less robust compared to the other models. The iPhone 14, on the other hand, may not be worth keeping in the lineup if it heavily relies on the cloud for optimal performance, even at a reduced price of $599.