Apple is reportedly working on incorporating an AI chip in its flagship iPhones. Known internally as the Apple Neural Engine the chip is meant to carry out tasks such as facial recognition, speech recognition and so on. Google last year had announced a dedicated AI chip called the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU). The chip is currently being used to process search results and other functions such as image processing. A new version of this chip is likely to made available for cloud business soon.
Engineers at Apple are racing to catch their peers at Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. in the booming field of artificial intelligence. While Siri gave Apple an early advantage in voice-recognition, competitors have since been more aggressive in deploying AI across their product lines, including Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home digital assistants.
An AI-enabled processor would help Cupertino, California-based Apple integrate more advanced capabilities into devices, particularly cars that drive themselves and gadgets that run augmented reality, the technology that superimposes graphics and other information onto a person’s view of the world.
Apple devices currently handle complex artificial intelligence processes with two different chips: the main processor and the graphics chip. The new chip would let Apple offload those tasks onto a dedicated module designed specifically for demanding artificial intelligence processing, allowing Apple to improve battery performance.