Apple’s A12 Chip Uses AI To Offer Slicker iPhone Experience


Apple Inc. iPhone XR and iPhone XS smartphones are displayed during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple Inc. took the wraps off a renewed iPhone strategy on Wednesday, debuting a trio of phones that aim to spread the company’s latest technology to a broader audience. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Apple’s new iPhone models — the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR — will all feature a new chip called the A12 Bionic, which is packed full of artificial intelligence technology designed to improve the overall performance of the new handsets.

The A12 Bionic chip, unveiled at Apple’s HQ in Cupertino on Wednesday, comes with an upgraded neural engine that has eight cores instead of the two that featured in the A11 Bionic chip seen in last year’s iPhone X. It will supposedly help the new iPhones to launch apps 30% faster and take better photos.

In a keynote, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, hailed the A12 Bionic as the “smartest and most powerful chip ever in a smartphone” adding that it “will enable new experiences not possible before.”

The neural engine is there to enable the iPhone to run the neural network software that powers an increasing range of clever iPhone features, such as FaceID, Animojis and voice recognition.

The A12 Bionic is a 7 nanometer chip with 6.9 billion transistors, a 4-core GPU, and 6-core CPU. Both the GPU and CPU are designed by Apple and they’re more energy efficient and powerful than their predecessors in the A11 Bionic. A “smart compute system” embedded into the A12 Bionic determines whether to run tasks on the GPU, the CPU, or the neural engine.

Kaiann Drance, Apple’s senior director of iPhone product marketing, said app developers will be able to utilise the AI hardware in the iPhone in ways that haven’t previously been possible using CoreML. Essentially, they’ll be able to integrate more AI features into their own apps.

Other smartphone sellers such as Google and Huawei are also racing to embed new AI chips into their devices that power some of the same features that Apple boasted about on Wednesday, as well as many different ones.

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