New ipad pro tablet featuring home lock screen

Apple teases new AI-focused chip for incoming iPad Pro

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has announced the launch of the latest iteration of the iPad Pro with an array of new features, but the presence of a novel chip focused on artificial intelligence (AI) has caught the eye of enthusiasts.

The new device, powered by Apple’s latest M4 chip, offers a ton of functionalities surpassing previous iterations. In its announcement, Apple described the new device as “outrageously powerful” for AI, citing the integration of the company’s latest technology in the chip.

Apple paired the chip with the latest edition of its Neural Engine with preliminary tests confirming the capacity to carry out 38 trillion operations per second. Compared with the previous Neural Engine paired with the A11 Bionic chip, the new offering is 60 times faster and is capable of a broad range of functionalities.

“With iPad Pro with M4, users can perform AI-enabled tasks even faster, like easily isolate a subject from its background in 4K video with just a tap with Scene Removal Mask in Final Cut Pro,” read the announcement. “With this advanced level of performance, the Neural Engine in M4 is more powerful than any neural processing unit in any AI PC today.”

A combination of next-gen machine learning accelerators and larger memory bandwidth is expected to expand AI functionalities on the device. The announcement confirmed that the iPad Pro will be able to run diffusion and other generative AI models while supporting mainstream cloud-based solutions.

It is unclear why Apple opted to unveil the new chip for its iPad rather than its range of Mac PCs, keeping with its company tradition. Experts are rationalizing the departure from the norm as a ploy to give app makers a lead to begin rolling out AI-themed software ahead of its software developer conference.

Others argue that the company is keen on using the iPad to test the waters for its incoming commercial AI offerings before rolling them out for the Macbooks.

“I do not think Tim Cook’s main aim here is to solve Apple’s sales problem with this line specifically, but rather to lay the groundwork needed for better, more innovative products in the months ahead,” said Thomas Montiero, a senior-level analyst at

Playing catchup

Apple appears keen to close the gap with other industry players in the AI and emerging technologies ecosystem by introducing new offerings. In recent months, the technology giant has joined the trend of developers with in-house model libraries while confirming the development of a new AI chatbot for product prototyping.

Despite a headstart with its Assistant, the company has fallen down the list but a new hiring spree is hinting toward a rejuvenation of AI fortunes. In mid-March, multiple reports emerged hinting at discussions with Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) to lean on the Gemini AI engine for advanced AI features on Apple devices.

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