Apple Working on Developing an ‘Apple Neural Engine’ AI Processor

Apple is no stranger to developing its own processors, from the A-series to the M series of coprocessors, there are options, and apparently Apple wants to expand that lineup.

According to a report today from Bloomberg, Apple is developing a brand new processor focused on bringing more advanced artificial intelligence to the iPhone lineup. This is called, for now, the “Apple Neural Engine,” and, while AI is part of the mix, it will also provide future iPhone models with better speech –and facial– recognition, as well as improve overall battery life:

“The new chip would let Apple offload those tasks onto a dedicated module designed specifically for demanding artificial intelligence processing, allowing Apple to improve battery performance…. The Apple AI chip is designed to make significant improvements to Apple’s hardware over time, and the company plans to eventually integrate the chip into many of its devices, including the iPhone and iPad, according to the person with knowledge of the matter.”

Apple’s new processor will help with a variety of tasks that are already in place in iOS, but offloading the processes to this new chipset should help with overall performance on the future devices. That includes “offloading facial recognition in the photos application, some parts of speech recognition, and the iPhone’s predictive keyboard to the chip.” What’s more, Apple is said to be opening up this new processor to third-party developers, and has been busy testing its own applications with it as well.

One of the more recurring rumors at this point is that Apple has been working to bring augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) features to the iPhone 8, which is why supporting rumors keep pointing to a vertically-positioned pair of cameras on the back. This new processor sounds like it might help with that feature as well.

[via Bloomberg]