Apple Developing 'Apple Neural Engine' Chip to Power AI in iOS Devices

Apple is developing a dedicated processor that will be used to handle AI-related tasks like facial and speech recognition in its products, reports Bloomberg. Citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site says the chip is known internally as the "Apple Neural Engine."

Apple plans to use the chip, which would work alongside the standard processor and the graphics chip, to add more advanced artificial intelligence capabilities into its devices and to offload demanding AI processing tasks that can impact battery life.

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.

The chip could potentially handle tasks like facial recognition in the photos application, parts of speech recognition, and power the predictive keyboard in the iPhone and iPad. Apple may also allow developers to access the chip to power AI-related features in third-party apps.

An AI chip would not be the first chip that handles dedicated tasks in the iPhone. Starting with the iPhone 5s in 2013, Apple devices have included a motion coprocessor used to collect and store sensor data. The motion coprocessor allows the iPhone and iPad to continually track movement and other sensor data without using significant battery. It also powers features like the always-on "Hey Siri" capability built into modern iPhones.

Apple has already tested prototypes of future iPhones with the AI chip, but it is unclear if such a chip is ready for a debut in the iPhone 8. Going forward, should development on the chip continue, Apple is said to be planning to integrate it into many of its devices.

Top Rated Comments

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40 months ago
I'm looking forward to this. Every time Apple makes a custom chip for the iPhone or any other product they make, it always improves the product as a whole--just look at the M series coprocessors, the S series SOCs, and most recently the W series. Can't wait to see where this goes.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
No no no I have it on good authority that the codename is actually

Apple Neural Ubiquitous Solution

A.N.U.S
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

I'm looking forward to this. Every time Apple makes a custom chip for the iPhone or any other product they make, it always improves the product as a whole--just look at the M series coprocessors, the S series SOCs, and most recently the W series. Can't wait to see where this goes.

This. The M9 Coprocessor incorporated into the 6s was what allowed Siri to be hands free, which was a nice advantage. It's the little things that make the device better as a whole.

The W1 chip from the Airpods has huge potential to cross platform.

To me this, this is what separates Apple from others. They make their devices almost custom using their own flow into future devices and compatibility.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
M1, S1, W1, T1, the more, the better!
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

Let's be honest — Apple is WAY behind the game with voice recognition. Siri is flat out useless compared to both Alex and Google Voice. If I could replace Siri with Google Voice (including Lens) without having to have another app open, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I'd just rather avoid the rest of Android.

Apple is behind but it's really pointless to compare when they all suck. Some are better than others in certain things but none remotely deliver on the promise of truly artificial intelligence in any demonstration I've ever seen.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
Let's be honest — Apple is WAY behind the game with voice recognition. Siri is flat out useless compared to both Alex and Google Voice. If I could replace Siri with Google Voice (including Lens) without having to have another app open, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I'd just rather avoid the rest of Android.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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