With the introduction of Siri in 2011, the Silicon Valley giant – Apple Inc. – got an early start in artificial intelligence software. Apple’s Siri is a tool that allows users to operate their smartphone with voice commands. According to a person familiar with the matter, the tech giant is now working on a processor that is dedicated specifically to AI-related tasks.
Is Apple bringing artificial intelligence to chips?
The person, who is familiar about the matter and requested to remain anonymous, said the dedicated chip is known as the Apple Neural Engine internally and it is expected to improve the way the devices of the Cupertino-based smartphone making giant – like iPad, iPhone, Mac, etc. – handle several important tasks that would require human intelligence like speech recognition and facial recognition.
The Cupertino-based smartphone maker refused to comment. The engineers at the tech giant are racing to catch their peers at Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. in the growing field of artificial intelligence. Competitors of the tech company have been aggressive in deploying AI across their product lines, including Google’s Home digital assistants and Amazon’s Echo.
Gene Munster, co-founder of venture capital firm Loup Ventures and former Apple analyst, said “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.” An AI-enabled processor would no doubt aid the tech giant in integrating more advanced capabilities into devices, especially into gadgets that run augmented reality and vehicles that drive themselves.
AI-enabled chip would provide improved performance
Currently, the devices of the Silicon Valley giant handle complex artificial intelligence processes with two separate chips – the graphics chip and the main processor. The AI-enabled processor would allow the tech company to offload those tasks onto a dedicated module that is designed especially for demanding artificial intelligence processing, letting the tech company improve the battery performance of its devices.
The latest Snapdragon chip of Qualcomm for smartphones has a module for handling artificial intelligence tasks. The search giant ‘Google’ announced its first chip last year, named the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU). The mentioned chip is working in the data centers of the ads giant to power search results and image-recognition. Nvidia Corp. is selling a similar chip to cloud customers as well. According to reports of Bloomberg, the tech company may discuss its AI plans during WWDC in June.