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Friday, June 2, 2017

Apple Has Big Plans for New AI Chip

While Siri gave Apple an early lead in voice-recognition technology, the competition answered with artificial intelligence (AI) devices, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Reports now suggest that Apple is working on a new AI-enabled processor of its own.

“Two of the areas that Apple is betting its future on require AI,” said Gene Munster, former Apple analyst and co-founder of the venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “At the core of augmented reality and self-driving cars is artificial intelligence.”

The new chip will be a dedicated module designed to control AI functions while providing battery performance, according to a Bloomberg report. Currently, Apple products use their main processor and graphics chips to handle AI processes.

The new AI chip is reportedly designed to handle functions such as facial recognition in the photos application, some speech recognition, and the iPhone’s predictive keyboard. Developers will also have access to the chip to develop apps that can handle AI-related tasks.

Apple has been designing in-house processors since it created the A4 chip in 2010 for the iPhone and iPad. It has also released dedicated processors for the Apple Watch, the wireless component for its AirPods, and the fingerprint scanner for its MacBook Pro.

The new AI chip has been tested in prototypes of the iPhone, but there’s no word that it will be included in the next generation of the device. Apple will introduce the iOS 11 operating system for iPhones and iPads at its annual developers conference later this month, as well as discuss its updates to laptops, which include faster processing chips.

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