Apple Adds AI Chip, Technology Adoption Speeds Up

To keep its edge in emerging technology, Apple is developing a processor devoted entirely to artificial intelligence.

Currently referred to as the Apple Neural Engine, the chip is being designed to take on such standard AI tasks as facial recognition and speech recognition, Bloomberg reports.

Among top tech companies, it is hard to overstate the current excitement surrounding AI.

Google, for example, is now shifting from a mobile-first to an AI-first strategy, CEO Sundar Pichai told attendees at Google’s I/O developer conference, last week. “In an AI-first world, we are rethinking all of our products, and applying machine learning and AI to solve user problems,” Pichai said.

As tech titans pour money into the space, it is clear the market for AI is taking shape faster than previous tech trends.  

“This is not going to be as slow as the previous [tech] waves,” Sarah Fay, managing director at Glasswing Ventures, told attendees of MediaPost’s Marketing AI conference last week.

Compared to broadband adoption, programmatic integration and other transformative tech, “AI [implementation] is going to happen at about double the speed,” Fay predicted.

That’s because, in Fay’s estimation, the necessary infrastructure and data are already in place for smart marketers to turn AI into high ROI.

Earlier this year, Apple was expected to join the Partnership on AI, which includes other industry leaders with a stake in the future of AI.

Separately, Apple sold fewer iPhones during its second fiscal quarter compared to the same period last year. All told, the company sold 50.8 million phones during the quarter ended April 1, which was off from the 51.2 million sold during the company's second-quarter 2016 period.

On the upside, Apple made more money from phone sales -- $33.2 billion, which was up from $32.9 billion -- meaning that the company is now making more per device.

Analysts are expecting a major sales boost when the next iPhone debuts in the fall.

As such, rather than fret about Q2 sales, Apple watchers should “hit snooze for 90 days,” as RBC analyst Amit Daryanani explained in recent note to investors.

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