The iPhone X’s new neural engine exemplifies Apple’s approach to AI

Apple’s new iPhone X is billed as “the future of the smartphone,” with new facial recognition and augmented reality features presented as the credentials to back up this claim. But these features wouldn’t be half as slick without a little bit of hidden futurism tucked away in the phone’s new A11 Bionic chip: Apple’s new “neural engine.”

The neural engine is actually a pair of processing cores dedicated to handling “specific machine learning algorithms.” These algorithms are what power various advanced features in the iPhone, including Face ID, Animoji, and augmented reality apps. According to Apple’s press materials, the neural engine performs “up to 600 billion operations per second” to help speed AI tasks (although this stat is hard…

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