The research wing of Digitimes reports today that to date "Google has been regarded as the leading force for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology thanks to its AlphaGo AI computer program. While Google still holds the advantage in the cloud-AI sector, Apple appears to have outraced Google in the development of on-device AI products with the launch of its iPhone X and iPhone 8 devices.
The built-in dual-core neural engine chip incorporated within the A11 processors, which power the iPhone X and iPhone 8 devices, integrates functionality such as machine learning, inference model and related algorithm to perform as an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip for image recognition and achieve hardware acceleration."
According to Apple, "A neural engine is hardware that's purpose-built for machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn from observation. It's capable of incredibly fast computations needed by neural networks while also being incredibly efficient." You can learn more about the new Neural Engine here.
The research report further noted that "The face ID application allows iPhone X users to actually experience on-device AI applications. Through the use of the TrueDepth camera, users can build up a depth map of face and the neural engine can identify and confirm the face and unlock the iPhone.
With regard to AR development, although Google has rolled out its Tango AR platform and also cooperated with hardware vendors such as Lenovo and Asustek Computer to launch AR-enabled smartphones, these AR-enabled smartphones have failed to wage an AR campaign because their prices are too high due to the adoption of high-priced components such as depth measuring sensors, and the number of users of Tango-based AR phones is scarce due to limited cooperation smartphone partners, as well as immature integration between related AR software and hardware.
In comparison, Apple's ARKit supports current and previous iOS-based devices launched up to two years ago through upgrades. Without using hardware components to build a 3D mode, the ARKit can utilize software algorithm to stack up AR scenes and objects to enable users to ride on AR experiences.
To compete effectively with ARKit, Google launched ARCore at the end of August, using a technology similar to that of ARKit. However, since hardware devices supporting ARCore are still limited to only Android 7.0 and above smartphones such as Google's Pixel and Pixel XL, and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S8, the number of ARCore-based devices will lag far behind those of ARKit-based products, according to the report."
Supporting the position that Apple has now flipped the tables of many in the AI arena such as Google and Samsung, is the fact that Samsung is racing to jump in the race. Knowing that Apple has now taken a massive lead over them in AI for smartphones and beyond. Whiny Android fans who are currently spouting off that the iPhone 8 and X are years behind Samsung and other modern smartphones are obviously off-course.
Yesterday we learned that Samsung's next big shift is to integrate AI chips to empower devices. A new Korean tech report noted that "A new, urgent task of Samsung, the world's unrivaled memory chip provider, seems to be developing chips for artificial intelligence applications on devices, including the company's Bixby on smartphones and connected home appliances.
The South Korean tech behemoth has embarked on research and development of so-called 'AI chips' with a goal of commercialization in the next few years, according to industry sources.
Samsung sources state that "In the next three years or so, smartphones will have designated chips that will improve the processing of AI features by 50 percent from today. A kind of an accelerator can be applied to empower AI devices."
To make it sound like Samsung will be a leader in the AI chip business, a Samsung partner told the Korean publication that "Samsung is in the middle of developing several types of chips that will be capable of processing massive data from AI applications on devices, eliminating the need to communicate with cloud servers."
Yet in the next couple of years TSMC has already stated back in June that 7nm and 5nm processors to handle AI, AR, VR, Context Aware Computing and Deep Learning. TSMC is Apple's main processor supplier and so if Samsung wants to bang the drum for AI processors, Apple is obviously working on more advanced chips than their new neural engine. So Samsung's talk isn't all that impressive.
I'm not downplaying Samsung's ability of being a fierce competitor, but that they're late to the party with Bixby which is still struggling as a digital assistant and now their work on AI chips for smartphones only conveniently came to light after Apple's revelation of the A11 Bionic with its Neural Engine back on September 12.
In the end, the critics were saying that Apple was far behind in the AI game and now Digitimes research report says that Apple has leap frogged Google. That completely screws up Google's own narrative on the subject that Patently Apple covered last year in a report about The Google Manifesto; Google's presentation laying out the vision that they're the ones that are leading the next wave of technology, the AI revolution.
So expect Google to come out swinging on October 4th trying to convince the world that they're the ones destined to be the gods of AI, with Apple miserably behind and that they're the ones that now own the Matrix (Neo move over).
Yes, interesting times are ahead in the area of advancing AI and underestimating Apple's ability to be one of the top leaders in this area would be a classis miscalculation on any competitors part and especially the media (like a Forbes contributor) that wrote Apple off very early on.
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