A recent report by Bloomberg details Apple’s upcoming plans to develop a dedicated processor that will handle all AI-related functions, such as facial recognition, in their devices.
According to the report, Apple plans to use this chip alongside the standard processor and the graphics chip to add more advanced AI to its devices and offload demanding 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.
This chip may also be able to handle features such as facial recognition in the photos application, speech recognition and power the predictive keyboard in the iPhone and the iPad. Although not confirmed yet, Apple may be allowing developers to access the chip to power AI-related features in third party apps.
This is not the first chip dedicated to handling tasks on the iPhone. Back in 2013, with the release of the iPhone 5s, Apple devices have included a motion coprocessor that collects and stores sensor data. This allows the iPhone and iPad to continually track movement and other sensor data without using a significant amount of battery life. It also powers more modern features such as “Hey Siri”.
Apple has tested the Neural Engine chip on prototypes of future iPhones but it remains unclear as to whether we’ll see its debut in the iPhone 8. However, if development of the chip is to continue, which we believe it will, the company are said to be incorporating it into many of its devices.