Artificial Intelligence For iPhone 8? Apple Working On Powerful Chip For Mobile Units, Self-Driving Cars

May 29, 2017 10:39 PM EDT | Rebecca Pearson

Apple wants to build artificial intelligence chips for its mobile devices and future products. Dubbed the Apple Neural Engine, insiders reveal this chip will enable handheld Apple devices, such as the iPhone 8, more powerful capabilities like speech and face recognition, among other features. Its possibilities could also power self-driving cars and other technologies of the future.

Testing for the AI chip has been on-going. According to Bloomberg, Apple integrated the chip in several devices, including prototypes of upcoming iPhones. Apple, however, declined to confirm on the tests when Bloomberg asked for a statement.

Apple's existing devices in the market already have artificial intelligence capabilities using two different chips for the processor and the graphics. These chips can properly support tasks that are image or graphics-related, such as in photos or videos.

One caveat, however, is that these tasks usually eat up battery power faster. The new AI chip, on the other hand, will have the capabilities of both chips but it should also improve its gadgets' battery performance, according to the Seattle Times.

Siri gave Apple quite a head start when it comes to artificial intelligence when the feature was introduced to the public a few years ago. But companies like Amazon and Alphabet, Google's parent, have since eclipsed Apple's AI engineering dominance with the emergence of digital assistants like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home.

Apple is now playing catch up with these tech leaders but has set its sights beyond digital assistance technology as well. Its engineers are looking into the AI chip for powering augmented reality technology and self-driving cars.

"Two of the areas that Apple is betting its future on require AI," Loup Ventures founder and Apple analyst Gene Munster told Bloomberg. "At the core of augmented reality and self-driving cars is artificial intelligence." Learn more about Apple's artificial intelligence chip in the video below.

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