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Why is Apple Intelligence not on Apple TV?

The Siri icon on Apple TV 4K.
Siri is still on tvOS 18 on Apple TV, but it won’t get Apple Intelligence. At least not at first. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Nobody likes sitting through two hours of tech keynote only to find that their favorite device isn’t getting that year’s hot new feature. It’ll likely happen to you at some point. No device lasts forever, even one from Apple.

Going into Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, I figured we’d probably see whatever newfangled AI push was coming roll out across the entire Apple ecosystem. While not every segment is the same, there’s so much crossover that you’d be forgiven for believing that Siri on the iPhone is the same as Siri on a Mac, or Siri on Apple TV.

Apparently not. Apple Intelligence (“AI,” get it?) will be available this fall. But only on the newest Apple devices — and not at all on Apple TV or Apple Watch. (Or on Apple Vision Pro, which actually is a little surprising, and kind of funny.)

Apple Intelligence is defined as “the personal intelligence system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that combines the power of generative models with personal context to deliver intelligence that’s incredibly useful and relevant.” That’s actually kind of vague and can ultimately mean whatever it is Apple wants it to mean. It also leads me to question whether that’s Apple’s way of acknowledging that Siri has been underwhelming for years.

Amazon Fire TV conversational search.
Amazon’s Daniel Rausch, as improved conversational search played a big part at the company’s fall 2023 hardware event. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

In any event, what Apple laid out really isn’t unlike what’s come before it from Google or Amazon. Toss Meta into the mix, too, if you want. It’s Apple’s version, and integrated into Apple products and services in its own way. (And I’d argue Apple did a better job explaining it to non-engineers, or at the very least in a more entertaining way.)

I didn’t necessarily expect every single Apple device to gain access to Apple Intelligence this fall, but I was actually a little surprised to see Apple TV left off the list of supported devices given that Siri is on Apple TV, and in a fairly big way, too. Combine that with searching for things to watch — and how Apple’s competitors have touted machine learning as a key to the future of that feature — Apple TV would sound like prime real estate for Apple Intelligence.

There could be any sort of reasons for Apple TV being left off the list. First, let’s look at what will be able to use Apple Intelligence, at least initially:

  • iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • iPad Pro M1 and newer
  • iPad Air M1 and newer
  • MacBook Air M1 and newer
  • MacBook Pro M1 and newer
  • iMac M1 and newer
  • Mac mini M1 and newer
  • Mac Studio M1 Max and newer
  • Mac Pro M2 Ultra

There’s a common thread there. Save for the iPhone, which is still on the ARM-based A series of processors, everything else is running an Apple-designed M1 or newer. I have no idea if the A15 Bionic in the latest Apple TV 4K is incapable of running Apple Intelligence. But, fine. You have to draw the line somewhere. And maybe that would open the door for new Apple TV hardware in the next year or so.

A promo picture of Apple Intelligence.
Apple Intelligence only works across Macs, iPads, and iPhone, for starters. Apple

Or maybe it has more to do with the initial intended use cases. That includes writing in Apple’s email app with “Writing Tools, which help you find just the right words virtually everywhere you write.” You won’t be doing much of that on Apple TV. Nor will you be doing much with imagery — “Apple Intelligence enables delightful new ways to express yourself visually” with the new (and awfully named) “Genmoji.”

It’s the Siri integration that Apple TV 4K could use. From Apple’s press release: “Powered by Apple Intelligence, Siri becomes more deeply integrated into the system experience. With richer language-understanding capabilities, Siri is more natural, more contextually relevant, and more personal, with the ability to simplify and accelerate everyday tasks.” That’s exactly the sort of thing you’d want to see on a device that has a dedicated button on the remote control for voice commands.

It’s early days yet, though. What we’ll see in the fall is the first iteration of Apple Intelligence, and in beta, at that. It’ll likely work its way across more Apple hardware soon enough. It’s just a matter of when — and whether we’ll have to pay up for something new.

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