Apple developing AI chips to make iPhone smarter with neural engine


Apple is reportedly developing proprietary chips equipped with artificial intelligence, potentially called the “Apple Neural Engine.” If reports prove true, then this chip will be iOS’s most significant AI upgrade since the voice assistant Siri arrived on iDevices in 2011.

Reports say the processor will be dedicated to processing AI-related tasks, among them facial recognition, speech recognition, and augmented reality. What’s more, this chip could improve the device’s battery life, in addition to improving the overall performance.

That’s according to Bloomberg, which cites a person familiar with the matter. Among the major players in the AI landscape are Google and Amazon, with their respective Assistant and Alexa technologies. By developing a chip devoted to AI, the Cupertino, California-based company could have a speed boost in the race and potentially catch up to its peers.

But it’s not clear if the alleged chips will ship on iDevices this year, says Bloomberg. That said, Apple has reportedly already tested the Apple Neural Engine on future iPhone prototypes. It seems the goal is for the company to equip its devices with separate chips that are devoted to specific tasks only — the AI chip will handle computationally intensive tasks, while other distinct chips will handle motion sensing, AirPods syncing, and more.

Apple is typically unwilling to share details regarding future products, and the same can be said of the aforementioned AI chips. Still, Tim Cook, the company’s CEO, has previously dropped hints that AI and augmented reality are two of the most important pillars of Apple’s future. Both technologies could pave the way for innovations such as self-driving cars, smarter digital assistants, and improved facial or object recognition.

Apple And Artificial Intelligence

Although Apple hasn’t shared much with regard to how its developments related to AI are going, actions speak louder than words. In recent years, the company has aggressively recruited top-rank industry talent, acquiring companies such as RealFace, Lattice Data, and Tuplejump.

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