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You’ll have to wait to try the new AI features coming to iPhone

Apple announced a slew of cool stuff at its WWDC keynote this week, but Apple Intelligence stole the show. Unfortunately, it’s gonna be a while until most of us can try it out. Apple’s crack marketing team described these new features as “AI for the rest of us,” but it looks like that won’t be true for some time, thanks to a combination of factors.

AI goes MIA

Although the first developer beta of iOS 18 is already available – I’m testing it as I write this – many of the best capabilities Apple demoed on stage are missing at this stage. That’s because Apple Intelligence is not yet ready for testing, with Apple’s release note small-print hinting that even the beta version won’t be ready until fall.

With AI underpinning many key changes in iOS 18, lots of those things are disappointingly missing from this first beta release. That includes Apple’s smart writing tools, Genmoji and Image Playground, the redesigned Mail app with inbox sorting, the highlight and summary features in Safari, and more. All notable by their absence. The improved Siri is here, but not yet in full.

We’d hope beta testers will get access soon, to give Apple time to polish its AI features for inclusion when iOS 18 is released to the public in September. But historically, that hasn’t always been the case – plenty of flagship features have arrived months after launch, in a .1 or .2 update. There’s no guarantee any of these things will arrive on time.

Device limitations

Even when these features are finally ready for release, their scope will be limited in other ways. At launch, all the Apple Intelligence stuff is limited to US English only, although you don’t have to be in the US to try it – changing your language settings will do the trick. Apple says more languages are coming over the next year.

Additionally, due to the processing power required for secure on-device AI, only the latest devices can join the party. Nothing but the top of the line iPhone 15 Pro is compatible, although any iPad or Mac with an M1 chip or beyond will be capable.

What else is missing?

It’s not just the AI stuff that’s notable by its absence. RCS support in Messages is missing from the current beta, although we’d expect that to be a part of the first public release. On other devices, impressive features like iPhone Mirroring on Mac and the panoramic virtual display in Vision Pro aren’t available until later this year.

Thankfully, iPad users are a bit luckier. Awesome new features like Math Notes and Smart Script are present in the first iPadOS 18 beta, despite looking like they use AI in the back end. And all the other iOS 18 features, including Home Screen customization, the new Passwords app, and the redesigned Photos interface, are present in this first beta.

I’ll be digging into the nuances of all this new software to bring you more details throughout the summer. If you’re keen to try the new stuff out for yourself, Apple is planning to release a public beta that anyone can access in July.