What is Apple Neural Engine? Is it faster than a computer?


The Apple Neural Engine is a term that has been making waves in the tech industry, especially among Apple enthusiasts. But what exactly is it?

Key Takeaways

  1. Boosts AI Performance: The Apple Neural Engine enhances AI tasks like facial recognition, photo improvement, and voice commands.
  2. Specialized Efficiency: This dedicated chip processes AI and machine learning faster than the CPU and GPU, improving device performance.
  3. Ongoing Advancements: Newer versions, like the M4 chip, deliver record-breaking speeds, making the Neural Engine even more essential in Apple’s devices.

What is Neural Engine?

ANeural engine artificial intelligence

You know that chip inside your iPhone that’s super smart? Apple calls it the Neural Engine. It’s like the brain behind all the cool stuff your phone does with AI, augmented reality (AR), and machine learning (ML).

This brainy chip first showed up in 2017 with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, powered by what Apple calls the A11 Bionic chip. Since then, every new iPhone chip (like the A12, A13, A14, and so on) has had one of these Neural Engines inside.

They make your phone smarter and faster when it comes to recognizing faces, making your photos look better, and even helping out with apps.

More about Machine Learning at IBM

The Role of the Neural Engine

You know how your phone’s main brain (CPU) and its graphics brain (GPU) used to handle everything? Well, now with Apple’s Neural Engine, they’ve got a new helper.

Think of it like this: the Neural Engine is a specialized chip made just for tasks like AI and machine learning. It’s like having a mini expert that can do these jobs way faster and smoother than your regular processors. So, instead of your phone’s main brain doing all the heavy lifting, this little chip steps in and makes things run super efficiently.

With AI now swooping into every device and application, this little chip can go a long way.

Tasks Handled by the Neural Engine

Face recognition by neural engine

The Neural Engine does a bunch of cool stuff behind the scenes on your iPhone or iPad. For example, when you unlock your device with Face ID, that’s the Neural Engine doing its thing.

And hey, ever noticed how Siri seems to understand you better these days? Yup, that’s also the Neural Engine lending a hand by processing your voice commands more efficiently.

Even in your Photos app, when you search for specific things like pictures of dogs, that’s where machine learning kicks in, powered by the Neural Engine. It’s like having a smart assistant inside your device that helps you find what you’re looking for without you even realizing it.

The Future of the Neural Engine

The Neural Engine keeps getting better and faster as time goes on. Take the M4 chip, for instance, which Apple just announced in May 2024. It boasts the fastest Neural Engine they’ve ever made, cranking out a mind-blowing 38 trillion operations per second. To put that in perspective, it’s faster than any other AI processor you can find in PCs right now.

But wait, there’s more! The M4 chip doesn’t just stop at a speedy Neural Engine. It also teams up with faster memory and next-gen machine learning boosters in the CPU, plus a high-performance GPU.

All together, this makes the new iPad Pro a real powerhouse when it comes to handling artificial intelligence.

More about the M4 chipset at Apple


To sum it all up, the Apple Neural Engine is a special processor crafted specifically to tackle AI and machine learning tasks with precision and speed. It’s not just a sidekick; it’s a key player in making features like Face ID and Siri work smoothly on our Apple gadgets every day.

As technology marches forward, we can count on the Neural Engine evolving even further. It’s set to become even more vital in the Apple world, pushing the boundaries of what our devices can do.

Note: Any verdict given by us on any of the companies, or specs of a device is subjective. Our preferences can be different from yours, so be sure to conduct your own research to make a decision that is good for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does the Apple Neural Engine contribute to energy efficiency in my device?
The Apple Neural Engine is designed to handle AI and machine learning tasks more efficiently than the general-purpose CPU and GPU. By offloading these specific tasks to the Neural Engine, your device can perform complex operations with lower power consumption, extending battery life and improving overall energy efficiency.
Can the Neural Engine be updated or improved after purchase?
While the hardware itself cannot be changed after purchase, Apple frequently releases software updates that optimize how the Neural Engine works with your device. These updates can enhance performance, introduce new features, and improve the efficiency of AI tasks, ensuring your device remains up-to-date with the latest advancements.
How does the Neural Engine enhance security features on my device?
The Neural Engine plays a crucial role in enhancing the security of your device. It powers advanced features like Face ID, which uses sophisticated algorithms to recognize your face with high accuracy. This ensures that your device remains secure, as the Neural Engine can quickly and reliably differentiate between your face and potential imposters, even as it adapts to changes in your appearance over time.

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