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Toward 'local' AI w/ Apple's new chip

Published 25 days ago • 2 min read

This is a guest post from IWAI Insights contributor Nyasha Green. To get all our most in-depth analysis and 10% off all our programs, try Innovating with AI Insights today.

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Apple is making a big push into AI with its newest iPad – and it could be a turning point in the quest for local AI.

This was one of the biggest challenges for AI hardware like the Ai Pin and Rabbit R1, which struggled with finding the balance between running local models (which produces mediocre results) and talking to the cloud (which is slow).

The latest iPad Pro, powered by the M4 chip, now allows users to perform advanced tasks like text generation and photo editing directly on the device, minimizing the need for cloud computing.

This leap brings powerful AI capabilities straight to consumers’ fingertips. The M4 chip’s high-performance neural engine can handle up to 38 trillion operations per second, enabling features like isolating subjects in 4K videos or removing backgrounds with a single tap in Final Cut Pro. This development marks a critical step in Apple's long-term vision for AI integration across its products.

The Power Behind the M4 Chip

The M4 chip provides a more advanced neural engine than its predecessors, boasting up to 60 times the performance of earlier models, with 10 cores focused on performance and efficiency. While Apple has yet to disclose all the specific AI features, CEO Tim Cook indicated that the new neural engine can offer transformative features for video calls and enhance user privacy. This chip is designed to provide app developers with tools that can unlock AI-driven creativity, which will be revealed in full at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10. In addition to its powerful neural engine, the M4 chip also boasts a new 10-core GPU with hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading for smooth graphics.

Integrating AI Into Everyday Use

Despite the iPad Pro's impressive specifications, Apple remains focused on developing practical AI features that cater to everyday users. It offers faster performance than traditional PCs and allows users to perform advanced video editing and real-time object identification without straining the device's battery life. The upgraded display engine further enhances visual clarity, bringing increased precision to the Ultra Retina XDR display, which makes editing and creating content easier. With new technologies like hardware accelerated mesh shading, users will find that games and other visually demanding apps work seamlessly.

Competition and Challenges Ahead

However, the road ahead is not without challenges. The company faces stiff competition as rivals like Microsoft and Google roll out their own AI-enabled hardware. Microsoft’s Arm AI chip technology, designed for future "AI PCs," could provide tough competition. Additionally, industry analysts and consumers have raised concerns about the potential for Apple to oversaturate its lineup with too many AI-focused features. While Apple’s introduction of the M4 chip is promising, the company must balance incorporating innovative features without overloading the user experience.

Apple’s AI Roadmap and Its Broader Implications

Apple's push toward more advanced AI features reflects a larger trend in tech where consumers increasingly seek devices that not only work faster but also understand and anticipate their needs. Features like Magic Editor for quick photo adjustments or Final Cut Pro for high-end video editing make the iPad Pro more than just a productivity tool but also a creative powerhouse. Apple is also focusing on making its AI-driven devices more secure, using on-device processing to minimize data privacy concerns and ensuring seamless performance across all its platforms.

Apple’s M4 chip in the new iPad Pro is a big step in the race for AI first hardware. This fits Apple's plan to bring AI into everyday use with its products. Although facing competition from companies like Microsoft, Apple aims to change how AI enhances creativity and productivity. The M4 chip shows Apple’s strong commitment to the AI tech race, preparing the way for more exciting announcements at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

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Until next time,

– Rob, Nyasha and the IWAI Team


PS. There's much more members-only analysis at Innovating with AI Insights. Check out our latest: The Legal Battle Over AI Voice Cloning: Voice Actors Fight Back.

Innovating with AI

Rob Howard

We help entrepreneurs and executives harness the power of AI.

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