Apple Intelligence May Eventually Cost You

You may eventually have to pay a subscription fee to access Apple’s cutting edge AI-powered iPhone features

That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who reports that the company’s long-term plan for Apple Intelligence involves charging users for additional features. Such a move would be another indication that Apple is bolstering its digital services in an attempt to reduce its reliance on hardware sales. It also comes after competitors like Google, OpenAI and Microsoft have launched paid versions of their own AI tools. 

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.

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Apple Intelligence, the iPhone maker’s gambit to enter the generative AI race, made its debut during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month. It brings ChatGPT integration, tools for proofreading and rewriting text in a different tone, new Siri features for getting tech support and answering more personalized requests and the ability to generate images and emojis among other features. Apple is positioning Apple Intelligence as a beta release when it arrives in iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and MacOS Sequoia in the fall.

While these features will launch as a free beta this year, Bloomberg says Apple could eventually release a paid monthly service potentially called Apple Intelligence Plus. Doing so would align with the approach the company has taken with other digital products, such as iCloud Plus, Apple TV Plus and Apple Fitness Plus. 

That’s important because it would allow Apple to generate additional revenue from the iPhone and its other hardware products. Global smartphone shipments have suffered in recent years, although the market has begun to rebound in 2024, according to the International Data Corporation. The iPhone is Apple’s biggest moneymaker, so charging for Apple Intelligence would allow Apple to cash in on the iPhone’s massive user base regardless of whether people are upgrading their phones.

However, Bloomberg says the shift towards a paid version of Apple Intelligence will take time. That makes sense considering these features are still new, and Apple likely needs time to see how Apple Intelligence is received and which features are most useful to consumers. It’s also worth noting that Apple Intelligence is only available on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, and iPad and Mac models with the M1 chip or later. That means you need recent Apple devices to take advantage of these features, which could also eventually boost sales if Apple Intelligence is well received.

Apple isn’t the only one possibly considering a paid model for its new AI features. The fine print on Samsung’s website for Galaxy AI says that features will be provided for free until the end of 2025, hinting at a potential paid version

Regardless, we’re expecting to learn more about new AI features from Apple, Samsung and Google in the coming months. Apple usually launches fresh iPhones in September, which coincides with the full release of its new version of iOS, and Apple Intelligence is likely to be mentioned. Samsung is holding its next Unpacked event on July 10, which will be full of Galaxy AI updates. And Google is holding a Made by Google event on August 13, where it will presumably announce new devices. If that event is anything like Google I/O and last year’s Pixel product launch, AI will be a major area of focus. 

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