This iPad will be the cheapest way to experience Apple Intelligence

Tim Cook on stage gesturing to an Apple logo beside the phrase "Apple Intelligence"
(Image credit: Future photo illustration)

Searches for 'Apple Intelligence' skyrocketed following Apple's WWDC 2024 keynote on Monday. This creatively-named new feature for Apple devices is the company's answer to the AI race, but it won't be available on every device.

Due to the necessary hardware requirements to power Apple Intelligence, it's mostly limited to newer, more expensive devices, from the 2020 M1 MacBooks to the recently launched M4 iPad Pro.

Many of these compatible Apple devices are or will be priced well over $1,000. However, you can still experience Apple Intelligence at a relatively affordable price with this tablet: the iPad Air 5.

Apple's iPad Air 5 starts at $599, but it frequently goes on sale for $499 or even $399, making it the cheapest way to experience Apple Intelligence. But what even is Apple Intelligence, and is it worth getting an Apple device capable of supporting it?

What is Apple Intelligence?

Apple Intelligence is the company's all-new Artificial Intelligence platform announced at WWDC 2024 on Monday.

Tim Cook introduced Apple Intelligence about an hour into the event, and the remaining 39 minutes of the event was dedicated to everything we can expect from Apple Intelligence.

iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 will receive Apple Intelligence updates, including some massive upgrades to the Siri we know and... don't love, right now. In fact, Siri may leapfrog Google Assistant with its ChatGPT integration, bringing amazing new features to the table, like on-screen awareness, in- and across-app performance, and Type to Siri.

On top of these much-needed Siri improvements, Apple Intelligence will include notification summaries, Safari browser tools, AI photo editing and generation tools, and AI-generated emojis.

As with many of the competitors in the current AI push, there is massive potential for these tools, but we need to start using them as part of our day-to-day life before we can truly gauge the impact.

Which devices will feature Apple Intelligence?

Here's a quick list of all the device categories that'll receive Apple Intelligence, as well as the cheapest starting price in that category.

iPads

  • iPad Pro M1 or newer (2021 or newer) — Starting at $999
  • iPad Air 5 or 6 (2022 or newer) — Starting at $599

MacBooks

  • MacBook Air with an M1 chip or newer (2020 or newer) — Starting at $699
  • MacBook Pro with an M1 chip or newer (2020 or newer) — Starting at $649 (certified refurbished)

Macs

  • Any iMac with an M1 chip or newer (2021 or newer) — Starting at $1,249
  • Any Mac mini with an M1 chip or newer (2020 or newer) — Starting at $385 (refurbished), but you'll need a monitor
  • Any Mac Studio with an M1 Max chip or newer (2022 or newer) — Starting at $1,469 (certified refurbished)
  • Any Mac Pro with an M2 Ultra chip or newer (2023 or newer) — Starting at $6,999

Although you could find a refurbished M1 Mac mini on eBay starting at $385 (plus the price of a monitor), the iPad Air 5 is the cheapest device to buy new and snag that luxurious Apple Intelligence experience.

Plus, with the iPad Air 5 occasionally dipping to $399 in sales, it'll likely come out to be cheaper than a refurbished M1 Mac Mini and a monitor. 

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