Apple might be developing a new custom chipset for artificial intelligence (AI) processing, reports Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The chipset, internally known as Apple Neural Engine, will be used to handle AI-related tasks like speech and facial recognition. The chipset could be incorporated into Apple’s upcoming devices such as iPhone and iPad.
Gurman writes Apple’s current devices are equipped to handle artifical intelligence processes with two different chipset: the main processor or microprocessor, and the graphics chipset, or “GPU”. The custom chipset would allow Apple to offload some processing done by the main chipset and by the GPU, allowing the company to improve battery performance on its devices. The report goes on to say that Apple plans to integrate the chip into other devices, and has even tested prototypes of iPhones with the built-in chip.
That said, it makes sense for Apple as its competitors in the tech industry are increasing betting on artificial intelligence (AI) for future growth. Google, for instance, has developed its own chipset for machine learning, called “TPUs”, the second-generation version of which was announced at this year’s I/O. Similarly, Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor, Snapdragon 835, has a dedicated module for an artificial intelligence (AI).
According to Apple analyst Gene Munster,”Two of the areas that Apple is betting its future on require AI. At the core of augmented reality and self-driving cars is artificial intelligence.” Over the past few years, Apple has acquired a number of companies having expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. In 2016, Apple hired Russ Salakhutdinov from Carnegie Mellon University as its director of AI research. Most recently, Apple released its first AI research paper, which focused on machine vision technologies.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasing becoming important, with players like Google, Amazon and Microsoft pumping millions of dollars. It is possible that Apple could share more information about the chipset at WWDC , the annual developer conference to take place June5-9 in San Jose, California. Apple will unveil iOS 11, the latest mobile operating system, along with a new version of macOS, its computer operating system