AWT News Update: May 26, 2017

Apple Neural Engine

Coming soon to an AI near you...

As we go into the Memorial Day weekend, enjoy these stories from around the world of Apple:

  • Apple's developing a dedicated AI processor called the "Apple Neural Engine"
  • Apple News gets an editor in chief, but can it get away from its liberal bias?
  • An investigation into EgyptAir Flight 804's 2016 crash suggests that an iPhone 6s and iPhone mini 4 may have been plugged in incorrectly and caused a cockpit fire
  • Tim Cook tweets out the latest New Yorker cover... that was drawn on an iPad

NOTE: The AWT News Update will not be published on Monday, May 29 due to the U.S. Memorial Day observance.

Many thanks this week to our sponsor, MNML, an easy-to-use and distraction-free Mac app for Medium.com. 

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for May 26th, 2017. Note that there will not be an AWT News Update on Monday, May 29th due to the U.S. Memorial Day holiday.

Bloomberg reported today that Apple is developing a dedicated processor to handle AI-related tasks. The tasks include things like facial and speech recognition, and the chip is apparently known internally as the “Apple Neural Engine.” Apple wants to use the chip in concert with the regular processor and graphics chip in devices to add more advanced artificial intelligence capabilities. The chip would also offload AI processing tasks from the CPU and should be able to improve battery life. So what would a chip like this be used for? Oh, just little things like cars that drive themselves or augmented reality devices. The chip could also be used to improve facial recognition in the Photos app, make speech recognition more accurate, and so on.

Apple has announced that it adding Lauren Kern,formerly of New York Magazine, as the editor in chief of Apple News. We’re personally hoping that Apple can use Kern’s background to broaden the scope of the news aggregator and take it from its current one-note liberal political viewpoint to something more balanced and fair.

On May 19 of 2016, EgyptAir Flight 804 was heading from Paris to Cairo when it suddenly veered off course, then crashed, killing 66 passengers. Well, it’s possible that the first officer on the aircraft plugged an iPhone 6s and an iPhone mini 4 into the wrong socket in the cockpit of the jet, triggering a runaway thermal excursion in the batteries of the devices and then starting a fire. Apple wasn’t aware that its devices were being linked to the EgyptAir crash until recently, and the company says that it is open to cooperating with French authorities in the investigation. The investigation team includes an engineer from the French National Center for Scientific Research, a physics professor, and an engineer specializing in batteries. It’s expected that the results of the investigation will be made public by September 30.

Do you publish your writing on Medium.com? If the answer is yes, then get yourself to the Mac App Store as soon as you can and get a copy of MNML. As the name suggests, MNML provides a clean, distraction-free interface that’s perfect for concentrating on your writing and not on the app. It’s featured on the Mac App Store right now for just $29.99 and comes from developer John Saddington, the same person who brought the world the award-winning Desk App for blogging. We’re proud to have MNML as a sponsor of the AWT News Update podcast this week and sure that you’ll love this app as much as we do.

The New Yorker magazine is well-known for its illustrations and cartoons, and recently it has been featuring art drawn on the iPad Pro on its cover. Artist Jorge Colombo took what looks like an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2, which is a popular spot for pick-up basketball games, bocce ball, and roller skating, then captured a scene of the covered basketball courts with a game in process. Colombo’s illustration was captured for a video that was featured on the New Yorker website, showing the work in progress. Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted the cover this morning, highlighting Colombo’s comment that “This was a risky drawing to make… I kept worrying that the ball would hit me or the iPad.”

That’s all for today; I’ll be back on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 30th with another edition of the AWT News Update.