Huawei Unveils AI Mobile Chipset Said to Rival A11 Processor in Upcoming iPhones

Sunday September 3, 2017 5:55 AM PDT by Tim Hardwick

On Saturday, Chinese mobile maker Huawei unveiled its first artificial intelligence smartphone chipset, which it hopes will lure customers away from Apple's upcoming range of new iPhones and towards the Asian company's "most powerful handset yet", the Mate 10, which is set to debut next month (via Nikkei Asian Review).

Huawei touted the Kirin 970 AI mobile chipset's built-in "neural processing unit" at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, claiming that the technology is "20 times faster" than a traditional processor.

Mate 10 handset render via Weibo

"The Kirin 970 is faster, better and more secure than anything else available [in the market]. This is the latest technology and it is the first chip to have a neural processing unit inside, which is 20 times faster than a central processing unit," said Richard Yu, chief of Huawei's consumer business group.

"It is a major breakthrough for Huawei. We will enable the first use of AI technology in mobile apps, and provide consumers with a never-before-seen AI experience right in the palm of their hands," he added.

The world's third largest smartphone maker claimed that mobile devices powered by the Kirin 970 will be able to "truly know and understand their users", by supporting real-time image recognition, voice interaction, and intelligent photography with ease.

"Compared with Samsung and Apple, we have advantages," Yu said in an interview with Reuters. "Users are in for much faster (feature) performance, longer battery life and more compact design."

According to Nikkei, the Kirin 970 integrates 5.5 billion transistors in a single square centimeter about the size of a thumbnail, which includes an octa-core central processing unit, a 12-core graphics processing unit, a dual-image signal processor, a high-speed 1.2Gbps Cat.18 modem, and AI mobile computing architecture.

The Kirin 970 is said to be based on the same 10-nanometer technology as Apple's existing A10X Fusion processor and the A11 processor that will power its new iPhone range, set to debut this month. The A10X powers Apple's latest 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets, making them the first consumer devices to feature a chip built on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's advanced 10-nanometer FinFET technology.

Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, claimed that the new chip powering Huawei's Mate 10 may be better than the chips for the new iPhone range. "The new Huawei chip can be 10 times as powerful as an average smartphone chip, and also more energy efficient, when it comes to handling AI-related functions such as image and voice recognition," Li said. But he added that the popularity of the chip would depend on whether Huawei is able exploit its power in a killer AI app.

The Mate 10 is said to be a bezel-less all-screen handset with a 6-inch, 2:1 display and a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution. Like Apple's so-called "iPhone 8", the Mate 10 is also expected to feature some form of facial recognition and improved cameras.

Huawei aims to become the world's largest smartphone maker by 2021, ahead of both Apple and Samsung, and the latest market share data suggests it is making headway towards that goal.

The company shipped an estimated 38.4 million smartphones in the June quarter, a 20 percent increase over a year ago, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. By comparison, Apple reported it sold 41 million iPhones in the same period, up nearly 2 percent from 40.4 million iPhones in the year-ago quarter.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
34 months ago
Here are the single core benchmarks from the Kirin 960 and A10. Huawei will need to effectively double performance just to catch up to Apple's year old processor

As for the "20X faster", that sounds like pure ********. Let's see the benchmark scores



[B]GeekBench 3 Benchmark Comparison[/B]
Single-core Score

[LIST=1]
* Apple A10 : 3510
* Exynos 8890 : 2041
* Kirin 960 : 1989
* Snapdragon 820 : 1845
* Snapdragon 821 : 1827
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
To me, this is all useless. These tit-for-tat spec wars remind me of the 90s where everyone else was busying themselves comparing megahertz and the 00s when it was the digital camera industry and megapixels. This has nothing to do with a fluid user experience. Apple is king when it comes to hardware/software integration, and I couldn't care less about the number of "Hz" or "x" or cores or transistors. Whatevs, Huawei et al. It's a distraction and a route to claim superiority for the user where none exists. I will go where (fluid experience + app library + quality + security/trustworthiness + support) take me, and right now that's Apple in a heartbeat.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
I’ll believe it when I see proof. I recall other tall tales like the PlayStation’s emotion engine.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
But it runs Android, so the phone will never be updated. The software will suck, and the reason it knows so much about you is because it'll mine all your data. Will wonders never cease?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
A11 in iPhone 8 will be beast, it will be the fastest and Much power sufficient till date. Can't wait to see how this beast will perform.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
I still expect the A11 to trounce it in single core performance.
[doublepost=1504444961][/doublepost]

Here are the single core benchmarks from the Kirin 960 and A10. Huawei will need to effectively double performance just to catch up to Apple's year old processor

As for the "20X faster", that sounds like pure ********. Let's see the benchmark scores



[B]GeekBench 3 Benchmark Comparison[/B]
Single-core Score

[LIST=1]
* Apple A10 : 3510
* Exynos 8890 : 2041
* Kirin 960 : 1989
* Snapdragon 820 : 1845
* Snapdragon 821 : 1827

It's pretty insane to think that Apple is effectively more than a year ahead in terms of soc performance.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...

New Low-Cost 'iPhone SE' Could Launch as Soon as Tomorrow

Thursday April 2, 2020 4:06 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's new low-cost iPhone is set to launch as early as Friday, April 3, according to a new report from 9to5Mac that cites a tip from a "highly trusted reader." The site says that while it can't be certain about the launch date, "Apple could reveal and begin taking orders for the new iPhone as soon as tomorrow." The iPhone 8 Apple is said to be planning to call the new iPhone, which is...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

AirTags Referenced in New Apple Support Video

Thursday April 2, 2020 12:12 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple has accidentally referenced its widely rumored AirTags item tracking tags in a video that it uploaded to its Apple Support channel on YouTube today. The video was first spotted by the blog Appleosophy and has quickly been removed. The video was titled "How to erase your iPhone." AirTags were mentioned in Settings > Apple ID > Find My > Find My iPhone under Enable Offline Finding, with...

Intel Unveils 10th-Gen Processors Suitable for Next 16-Inch MacBook Pro With Wi-Fi 6 and Turbo Boost Speeds Above 5GHz

Thursday April 2, 2020 7:53 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Intel today announced the launch of its latest 10th-generation Core processors for high-end notebooks, potentially including the next 16-inch MacBook Pro. The batch of 45W chips, part of the Comet Lake family, are built on Intel's 14nm++ architecture. The new H-series chips have the same base clock speeds as the 9th-generation chips in the current 16-inch MacBook Pro, but Turbo Boost speeds...

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Apple Adding Some 2013 and 2014 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Models to Vintage Products List at End of April

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:24 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that the following 2013 and 2014 models of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will be added to its vintage and obsolete products list on April 30:MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013) MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013) MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014) MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014) MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2014)Apple defines vintage...

Apple Paid Hacker $75,000 for Uncovering Zero-Day Camera Exploits in Safari

Friday April 3, 2020 3:58 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple paid out $75,000 to a hacker for identifying multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in its software, some of which could be used to hijack the camera on a MacBook or an iPhone, according to Forbes. A zero-day vulnerability refers to a security hole in software that is unknown to the software developer and the public, although it may already be known by attackers who are quietly exploiting...

iPhone 8 Screen Protector Updated With 'iPhone SE' Compatibility on Apple's Online Store

Thursday April 2, 2020 8:10 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Another clue has surfaced to suggest that Apple's rumored lower-cost iPhone SE successor will likely be released soon. Earlier today, a product listing for a Belkin screen protector on Apple's online store was updated to reflect compatibility with not only the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, but also the iPhone SE. Given the original iPhone SE was a 4-inch device, and the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are...

2020 iPad Pro May Not Have a U1 Ultra Wideband Chip After All

Wednesday April 1, 2020 8:49 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
While it was previously reported that all 2020 iPad Pro models feature the same Apple-designed U1 chip as the iPhone 11 lineup, enabling Ultra Wideband support, we have compiled evidence to suggest that this may not be the case. As a reminder, Apple's tech specs for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro list an Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness, but the chip is not mentioned in Apple's...