Apple’s new ‘battery health’ feature is a great reminder that my iPhone will be a piece of trash some day

Everything dies.
Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

My iPhone isn’t even two years old, and it’s already dying.

That’s the upshot of Apple’s new “Battery Health” feature, introduced in iOS 11.3 Thursday. Though the device assures me it’s operating at “peak performance,” it also indicates that the battery can only hold 93 percent of the charge it once did.

So it goes. Every battery degrades over time, and there’s not a lot Apple can do about that. In fact, this new feature is a step in the right direction: it’s a sort of mea culpa after the tech giant was caught slowing down old devices without user consent, supposedly to combat unexpected shutdowns. The more information users have to counteract — or at least anticipate — the negative effects of iPhone aging, the better.

… Right?

Perhaps not! Though I’m certainly against secret iPhone throttling and generally in favor of information that helps consumers make good choices, this new battery indicator seems destined to result in two things: anxiety and iPhone-related purchases. That my iPhone now only operates at 93 percent of its original capacity is empty knowledge at best. It makes me extremely aware that my iPhone will eventually tick down to uselessness, and, yikes, it kind of makes me want to buy a new battery.

Conceded: This is extremely obsessive. (I am extremely obsessive.) But If you want to do something about your battery, your options are limited. Apple’s temporarily offering a great price on battery replacements for certain models, though you’ll typically shell out $79 for the company to handle this for you.

And folks, you will most likely need the company to handle this for you. iPhones are sealed shut and locked down with proprietary screws — not uncommon in the electronics industry — and they require specialized knowledge to take apart. We are an awfully long way from the Samsung Galaxy S4, which, back in 2013, allowed users to pop off a plastic back with their fingers, take the battery out, and slot another in. Apple has never allowed such a thing with its iPhones.

Replacing a battery on the Galaxy S4 was easy.

Image: ifixit.com

Which is to say, if Apple was serious about making this information useful to consumers, it would make devices that were easier to repair when things go wrong. When my battery capacity hits 50 percent, say, it would be nice to buy a battery from a third-party source (they retail for about $25) and slide that sucker in without completing a minor feat of techno-surgery.

We can applaud Apple for informing consumers, but this information will in fact be most valuable to Apple itself, which will profit when we buy new iPhones or the AppleCare+ plans that give us discounted battery replacements. 

Thanks, but no thanks.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/03/30/iphone-battery-health-feature/

Apple Plans Giant High-End iPhone, Lower-Priced Model

Apple Inc. is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features.

With the new lineup, Apple wants to appeal to the growing number of consumers who crave the multitasking attributes of so-called phablets while also catering to those looking for a more affordable version of the iPhone X, according to people familiar with the products.

Apple, which is already running production tests with suppliers, is expected to announce the new phones this fall. The plans could still change, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning.

Despite months of breathless hype, the iPhone X hasn’t sold as well as expected since its debut last year. Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2017, below analysts’ projections of 80.2 million units. Some consumers were turned off by the iPhone X’s $1,000 price despite liking the design but wanted something more cutting-edge than the cheaper iPhone 8. With its next lineup, Apple is seeking to rekindle sales by offering a model for everyone.

“This is a big deal,” says Gene Munster, a co-founder of Loup Ventures and a long-time Apple watcher. “When you have a measurable upgrade in screen size, people go to update their phone in droves. We saw that with the iPhone 6, and we think this is setting up to be a similar step up in growth.”

Munster predicts a supercycle — which he defines as upgrades by 10 percent or more of Apple’s existing iPhone customers. “The market that will see the biggest jump in sales is likely Asia,” he says. “That market has many single-device consumers, and they love big phones.”

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. The shares gained 2.1 percent to $179.18 at 2:16 p.m. in New York.

Read more: How Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 compares to the iPhone X

With a screen close to 6.5 inches, Apple’s big new handset will be one of the largest mainstream smartphones on the market. While the body of the phone will be about the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus, the screen will be about an inch larger thanks to the edge-to-edge design used in the iPhone X. (Apple is unlikely to refer to the phone as a phablet, a term popularized by Samsung.)

The larger screen should especially appeal to business users, letting them write emails and manage spreadsheets on a screen about as big as a small tablet. Like the iPhone 8 Plus, the new handset will probably enable split-screen modes for certain apps. Still, the larger phone could cannibalize iPad sales, a category that recently started growing again.

The big phone is code named D33, a person familiar with its development says, and at least some prototypes include a screen resolution of 1242 x 2688. That would make the screen about as sharp as the one on the 5.8-inch iPhone X. Apple also plans to use OLED technology, the same, more expensive type of screen in the regular iPhone X.

Like the iPhone X, the larger model will include a Face ID scanner that unlocks the device and enables payments. Apple is also preparing an update to the regular-sized iPhone X that is internally dubbed D32, people familiar with the product said. Both of these phones are expected to use next-generation A12 processors and will continue to include stainless steel edges, they say, and will be Apple’s high-end smartphone offerings.

Apple is considering a gold color option for the update to the iPhone X and the larger model. The company tried to develop gold for the current X handset, but abandoned it because of production problems. All new iPhones since the 5s came in gold, including the iPhone 8. The gold option is especially appealing to consumers in Asia and may help boost sales in the region. Still, Apple may ultimately decide not to proceed with the color.

In at least some regions, Apple is considering offering a dual-SIM card option for the larger model. That would let people use their phones in countries with different carrier plans without having to swap out cards. Such a feature has been growing in importance and popularity, especially in Europe and Asia where business people routinely visit multiple countries.

Apple hasn’t made a final decision on including the feature and could choose to wait for E-SIM technology, which will connect phones to multiple networks without the need for a removable chip. Apple has wanted to offer E-SIM technology (it already exists in the iPad and Apple Watch), but some carriers are resistant to including it in iPhones, and Apple needs their support. A dual-SIM capability would provide a compromise.

The phones will have an updated operating system, probably called iOS 12 and code named Peace, which will include upgraded augmented reality capabilities, deeper integration of the Siri digital assistant, digital health monitoring and the ability to use Animojis in FaceTime.

Apple’s decision to also build a cheaper phone is an acknowledgment that the current entry-level 8 models too closely resemble the iPhone 6 introduced back in 2014. With their thick bezels and lack of edge-to-edge screens, they seem dated next to the iPhone X and the latest Samsung devices. The new lower-cost model will feature the same edge-to-edge screen as the iPhone X as well as Face ID instead of a fingerprint sensor.

“It’s good that they’re rounding out the product line” with a less expensive phone, Munster says. But he doesn’t think it will have a measurable impact on demand because many consumers will want the bigger model.

To keep costs down, the cheaper phone will use LCD screen technology similar to the type employed in the iPhone 8. It will also have aluminum edges and a glass back like the iPhone 8, not the flashier stainless steel used in the iPhone X.

Apple has tried selling cheaper phones in the past with poor results. In 2013, the company debuted the iPhone 5c, which had a polycarbonate body and came in various colors. Consumers quickly discovered that for a mere $100 more they could buy a 5s, which had an aluminum body, a slow-motion video camera and a fingerprint scanner. Apple soon discontinued the 5c.

For more on the iPhone, check out the podcast:

This time, the company is trying something different: using a cheaper body but including the features — Face ID and an edge-to-edge screen — that consumers most prize.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-26/apple-is-said-to-plan-giant-high-end-iphone-lower-priced-model

    Apple apologizes for not telling customers iPhones with older batteries would slow over time

    Apple has today posted a letter on its website and a technical article in its Knowledge Base apologizing for not being more transparent about how it handles performance on iPhones with older batteries. Last week, Apple issued a statement that made it clear that changes it made a year ago were indeed slowing down the maximum performance of iPhones with older batteries.

    It will now also offer a battery replacement for older devices affected for a reduced $29.

    “We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process,” the letter reads. “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.”

    Apple is now apologizing for not being clearer about how the changes it made to eliminate sudden shutdowns of iPhones would affect iPhone performance. When I published my piece on this last week, even though I clearly, and forcefully, noted that Apple must be more transparent with its users on this issue, readers were incensed over the fact that a long-held conspiracy theory appeared to be confirmed. Apple was slowing down old iPhones and the reason didn’t matter. It is clear that some people will still feel that the reason Apple is giving here is not enough, which is understandable given the intense passion people have for their phones and how much they use them.

    Interestingly, Apple says that it has attributed feedback about iPhone slowness to the process of updating to a new operating system and some bugs that were evidently present in iOS 11 that caused slowdowns.

    “Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations,” Apple says. “Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.”

    Apple says that it now believes, in addition to these other factors, that slower older iPhones are also being negatively affected by aged batteries which trigger their power smoothing.

    “We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.”

    A year’s worth of issues with no reason given from Apple on this also makes it difficult for the company to re-build trust with its users. It’s much easier to be as transparent as possible up front about complex technical fixes than it is to try to explain the adverse effects of those fixes later. That’s a consequence Apple will have to live with.

    And they were right, as I noted, that Apple should have been very direct and forthcoming with them as a consumer — person to person, so to speak. The effects of the shutdown fix were not explained fully to the press or the customer.

    Apple is doing three things in response to customers concerned that older batteries are making their iPhone run slower.

    • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
    • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
    • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

    The letter explains that Apple will be adding ‘visibility’ in the the health of their iPhone’s battery, a fix I suggested in my original article. Though it is not  specific about what that visibility will mean. An age indicator? A notification of some sort, like this mockup we made last week, that tells you when the ‘smoothing’ kicks in?

    We don’t know yet. But I’d assume we’ll see it in testing in early January.

    Apple will also lower the cost of battery replacements to $29 for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later beginning in January. I don’t know if this battery replacement policy will be quite enough, I’d imagine that it would depend on the success or failure of the various class action lawsuits that has sprung up in the week since the original revelation. I think a free replacement might be an option, especially for older devices.

    But I’d love to see this be permanently implemented as an ongoing policy for all iPhones. I don’t know what Apple’s margins are on this but given that independent facilities often charge this I’d assume that it can swing this amount with official replacement parts. This could extend the life of iPhones and mitigate a lot of the complaints about battery replacement costs that cause people to call for user replaceable batteries.

    Apple’s position on the performance issues, as outlined in the letter, is that it felt that limiting the peak performance of iPhones and spreading out processor load over time was worth preventing iPhones from shutting down suddenly.

    “About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE,” reads the letter. “With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.”

    Apple says that this had the intended effect, reducing the amount of times that older iPhones suddenly shut off. Nonetheless, there has been some criticism regarding the way Apple handles aging lithium-ion batteries, the shortcomings of which are very well known in engineering circles.

    Indeed, Apple is now reportedly working on its own power management controllers for iPhone, perhaps to have a better handle on how CPU and battery components work together. Apple notes that iPhones return to full performance once the batteries are replaced.

    Apple’s Knowledge Base article goes deeper into both the expected behaviors of lithium-ion batteries and what, exactly, is and is not affected by the shutdown fix that came with iOS 10.2.

    A TL;DR and a little meta commentary here: Apple will soon warn you when your battery is so old it starts affecting performance. It will not change the behavior that smooths out power curves and slows down iPhones with older batteries because this would cause them to shut down and it believes it’s the right thing to do. Battery replacements for these phones will cost a reduced $29 temporarily, though I think there’s a strong argument to make this the permanent price. The reasons Apple gives here and its response are reasonable, but it will take a reputational beating over this and has lost an amount of user trust that it will have to regain.

    Here is the full letter:

    December 28, 2017

    A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

    We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

    First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

    How batteries age

    All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.

    Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.

    A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

    To help customers learn more about iPhone’s rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, we’ve posted a new support article, iPhone Battery and Performance.

    It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.

    Preventing unexpected shutdowns

    About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.

    Customer response to iOS 10.2.1 was positive, as it successfully reduced the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. We recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

    Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

    Recent user feedback

    Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

    We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.

    Addressing customer concerns

    We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

    To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

    • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
    • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
    • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

    At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.

    The Knowledge Base article on iPhone battery performance is here.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/28/apple-apologizes-for-not-being-clearer-about-slowing-down-iphones-with-older-batteries/

    The iPhone 8 might cost up to $1,200

    The iPhone 8 (or Edition or X, take your pick) could weigh down your bank account.
    Image: loris ravera/mashable

    Apple is finally slated to reveal the highly-anticipated deluxe anniversary iPhone on Sept. 12, and you will want to buy it immediately — but the sticker price could wind up dampening your excitement for the phone’s next-gen features. 

    Rumors claim the iPhone 8 (or Edition or X, depending on who you trust) will be much more expensive than any of its predecessors, pushing the starting cost up to at least the $1,000 mark. That means the top-of-the-line model will cost a whopping $1,200, for anyone who wants more than just the basic level of storage on their deluxe device. 

    Leaker Benjamin Geskin tweeted out a pricing tier for the new iPhones, citing information from a friend who has a friend at Apple. 

    The sourcing sounds sketchy, but Geskin is far from the first to suggest that the next iPhone will cost more than $1,000. Apple insider John Gruber suggested the deluxe new device would debut at the price point back in July, speculating that Apple could justify the cost by showcasing next-level tech that will be common in future iPhones in a premium device today. 

    A New York Times report also backed the idea of a starting price “around $999,” for the iPhone, citing anonymous sources who had been briefed on the device. That’s a much more reliable report than just the whispers of friend of a friend — but others aren’t so convinced that Apple will ask such a high price for a phone.

    UBS analysts Steven Milunovich and Benjamim Wilson wrote in an investors note that they “questioned the logic” of Apple putting such a premium on an iPhone. They claim instead that the company will roll out the deluxe device at a $900 starting point for a 64GB model, with a 256GB version eclipsing the $1,000 mark. 

    The analysts also noted that Apple typically takes some cues from its competitors, and with Samsung’s latest offerings starting well under $1,000 — the new Galaxy Note 8 starts at $930 unlocked — there’s little incentive for Apple to set the bar any higher.   

    None of these projections questioned the features expected in the deluxe iPhone, which include a new edge-to-edge OLED display, a nearly bezel-free screen with no home button, and a new sensor system for facial recognition. 

    Speculation over the price of the iPhone is nothing new for the rumor cycle, with reports flying about the extra costs for as long as there have been rumors about a new OLED screen. Now that we’re a week away from the big reveal, however, those projected costs are all the more pressing, since we’re finally closer to getting a shot to put down the cash for one of our own.  

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/05/iphone-8-price-tier-rumors-/

    Everything we expect to see at Apple’s big iPhone 8 reveal

    Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Apple’s next iPhones are almost here.

    We’re just days away from what will be Apple’s most anticipated reveal in recent memory. On Tuesday morning, CEO Tim Cook will take the stage at the company’s Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino and show off three new iPhones. 

    We’ll also get our first look at the next Apple Watch, Apple TV, and hear the latest updates on iOS and macOS High Sierra.

    Beyond that, the event carries special meaning for Apple. Not only is it the company’s first public event in the theatre named for its storied founder, it’s also the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone launch. Given that extra significance, we could be in for a tribute to that original launch or to Jobs himself. 

    iPhone 8 or iPhone Edition?

    There’s no question this is Apple’s most anticipated iPhone yet. The company’s been trying to keep its exact details under wraps, so of course we have a pretty solid idea of what it’s going to look like, thanks to a never-ending stream of leaks and rumors.

    Physically, it’s expected to be about the same size as an iPhone 7, but with an edge-to-edge OLED display that’s bigger than what is currently on the iPhone 7 Plus. It won’t have a home button or Touch ID, and will likely use some kind of facial recognition tech to unlock.

    A mockup of a new ‘copper gold’ color Apple is rumored to be introducing for the iPhone 8.

    Image: mashable/raymond wong

    Wireless and rapid-charging will be supported, and it will have dual rear-facing cameras — likely equipped with a depth sensor to better enable all those new augmented reality apps. It will probably come in a new color and cost at least $1,000, maybe much more

    One thing we still aren’t sure of, though, is the name. 

    Though most people, us included, have been calling it the iPhone 8, there’s a good chance Apple will eschew its typical naming conventions given that this phone marks the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. iPhone X, iPhone Edition, and iPhone Pro have all been posited. 

    As we get closer to the reveal, iPhone Edition is looking more and more likely but, as with so many Apple rumors, it’s hard to say with any certainty (my favorite dark horse candidate is still, simply, iPhone.) 

    iPhone 7S + iPhone 7S Plus

    Again, we can’t be sure of the name as some reports have indicated the iPhone 7’s immediate successor will be called “iPhone 8.” Regardless of what it’s called, this pair of phones will be much closer to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

    The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are expected to look much like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus .

    Image: Aflo/REX/Shutterstock

    The displays will likely be the same as the iPhone 7 line — no edge-to-edge display here. Though it’d be tempting to think of these phones as the compromise buy compared with the third ultra-premium iPhone, there will be some noticeable improvements.

    The 7S and 7S Plus are expected to ship with the same rapid and wireless charging as the iPhone 8, but other than that it’s unlikely to be a major departure from the iPhone 7. It will have an LCD display, a home button, dual rear-facing cameras, and a starting price similar to that of the iPhone 7. 

    It probably won’t come in any new colors, and may not even be available with a rose gold or jet black finish.

    Apple Watch Series 3

    While the three new iPhones will likely hog much of the spotlight on Tuesday, there’s other new hardware to look forward to, including what is likely a new Apple Watch. While it’s not usually the company’s sexiest product, Series 3 sounds like it’s set to be a big revamp.

    Series 3 sounds like it’s set to be a big revamp

    Most significantly, Apple is expected to add LTE connectivity to its wearable, marking the first time the Apple Watch can truly be independent of your iPhone. This could also have big implications for its fitness-tracking abilities, which we learned more about when Men’s Health visited Apple’s testing lab.

    Apple will launch watchOS 4 alongside its new wearable, and it features a new mode for high intensity interval training. The new OS will even be able to connect directly to some types of gym equipment. 

    On the outside, the new Apple Watch could have a new screen design, if Apple-watcher John Gruber’s sources are to be believed (Gruber himself says he “wouldn’t bet the house” on the rumor, so, grain of salt). But if turns out to be correct, it’d be the first major redesign since Apple first launched its watch in 2015.

    4K Apple TV

    As if a new Apple Watch and three-piece set of iPhones isn’t enough, we’re also due for a new Apple TV. Here, it’s not the design of the set-top box that has us excited (though expect it to at least be slimmer and speedier than the current 4th gen model released back in 2015).

    The latest box will finally add support for 4K and HDR content. Given that there’s more 4K content available than ever (and HDR is slowly gaining ground), this will be a very welcome (and, frankly, overdue) update.

    macOS High Sierra and iOS 11

    Apple’s fall launch isn’t all about the hardware. MacOS High Sierra, which comes with a nicely revamped Photos app and a ton of under-the-hood improvements, will likely make its official debut.

    Likewise, it looks like iOS 11 will finally be ready for everyone. We know most of what’s in the update, thanks to months of beta builds, but there are still a few unknowns. Apple has yet to reveal the specifics of its P2P messaging service for its Messages app, beyond what we briefly saw on the WWDC stage. 

    Apple’s new P2P payments feature for Messages.

    Image: apple

    And while we we’ve seen a lot of ARKit-enabled augmented reality apps, there’s still a lot we haven’t heard about yet. Exactly how the new iPhone cameras will enhance iOS’ augmented reality features is also unclear. 

    As always with Apple, nothing is certain until Tim Cook steps onto that stage. A few surprises are always on the table. Check back this Tuesday for Mashable’s live coverage from Cupertino.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/09/apple-iphone-8-event-what-to-expect/

    Apple working on dedicated AI chip for iOS devices, report says

    Image: lili sams/mashable

    Apple’s reportedly working on a new kind of chip potentially for future iOS devices that’ll be used just for processing AI, Bloomberg reports.

    Bloomberg says the chip’s called the Apple Neural Engine internally, and could be used for “offloading facial recognition in the photos application, some parts of speech recognition, and the iPhones predictive keyboard to the chip.”

    By moving AI processing to a dedicated chip, battery life in devices could also see a boost since the main CPU and GPU wouldn’t be crunching as much data and gobbling as much power.

    The report says Apple plans to integrate the chip into its devices, but it’s unclear when that’ll happen, and if any iOS devices launching this year will have it.

    Apple’s work on an AI chip shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s paying attention to the competition. Virtually every tech company is working on improving AI processing on mobile devices.

    Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chip, which is already in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, has a special module dedicated to processing AI tasks.

    Years ago, Apple started designing its own mobile processors to improve performance and reduce power consumption, and it’s really paid off.

    Despite having fewer cores, the iPhone 7 still crushes the Galaxy S8 when it comes to sheer performance.

    iPhones and iPads also come with an Apple-designed “M”-branded motion coprocessor to collect sensor data from the various included sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, etc.). It’s this M chip that helps with tracking health and fitness data.

    Furthermore, in addition to the main Intel processors in the new MacBook Pros, there’s also a small Apple-made “T1” chip for powering the Touch Bar. Apple’s AirPods also have a custom W1 chip that helps with pairing them to iOS devices.

    Clearly, Apple loves making custom chips for things. We’re all for it, especially if that means longer battery life.

    If the future is AI everywhere (and it definitely looks like that’s where things are headed), it’s in Apple’s best interests to control the stack (like it always does) with its own AI chip.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/26/apple-artificial-intelligence-chip-iphone/