In Depth

Apple set to develop 'Neural Engine' for AI devices

Reports say the dedicated AI processor could speed up 'image recognition' and improve battery life

wd-apple_cars.jpg

Apple is developing a dedicated processor designed to handle artificial intelligence (AI) tasks, Bloomberg reports.

Dubbed the "Apple Neural Engine", the website says the processor could "improve the way the company's devices handle tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence". 

The company's latest smartphone, the iPhone 7, currently runs some of its AI tasks using the image signal processor and the graphics processing unit integrated on its A10 Fusion chip, says Forbes.

"By having a more dedicated processor to more efficiently run those algorithms, Apple could speed up the image recognition as well as reduce drain on the iPhone's battery", the site adds.  

While the Cupertino-based company has bundled its Siri AI assistant on its smartphones since 2011, Bloomberg says that the firm's "early advantage in voice-recognition" has since been overtaken by the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home. 

But a dedicated AI processor could be integrated into devices such as driverless cars and "gadgets that run augmented reality (AR)", adds the site, helping the company regain its advantage in consumer AI. 

A processor designed solely for AI tasks would not be the first chip dedicated to iPhone functions, says MacRumors, as all Apple smartphones since 2013's iPhone 5S "have included a motion coprocessor used to collect and store sensor data". 

The motion coprocessor can continually track movement and other sensor data "without using significant battery" on iPhones and iPads, which the site says can also run functions such as the "Hey Siri" voice command system. 

It's not yet known whether the "Neural Engine" will appear on Apple's rumoured iPhone 8 later this year, but AppleInsider suggests that the AI processor could be announced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event, which runs from 5 to 9 June.

Recommended

‘Hey Siri, what products will Apple announce at its next event?’
Apple’s ‘Spring loaded’ event will be held on 20 April
Business Briefing

‘Hey Siri, what products will Apple announce at its next event?’

Bitcoin explained: what is it and how can you buy one?
Bitcoin
In Depth

Bitcoin explained: what is it and how can you buy one?

UK’s economy grew by 0.4% in February as EU exports rebound
The UK’s construction sector grew by 1.6% in February 2021
Business Briefing

UK’s economy grew by 0.4% in February as EU exports rebound

Who are the richest people in the world?
Jeff Bezos
In Focus

Who are the richest people in the world?

Popular articles

What is Donald Trump doing now?
Donald Trump
In Depth

What is Donald Trump doing now?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 20 April 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 20 April 2021

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?
Night Tube Sadiq Khan
In Depth

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?