Tim Cook says Apple wants to use AI to boost iPhone battery life

By , Oct 17, 2016

iPhone 7 battery

Apple’s boss Tim Cook traveled around Japan on a bullet train last week as part of his whirlwind tour of the country, his first visit since becoming CEO.

Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, Cook expressed hope that Apple Pay will help realize a cashless society and hinted that the company’s new research and development center in Yokohama, near Tokyo, would be “very different” from its Chinese R&D center as it would explore “deep engineering”.

He then said that Apple wants to use artificial intelligence to turbo charge the iPhone battery life.

Artificial intelligence (AI), said Cook, can be used “in ways that most people don’t even think about,” including making the iPhone last longer in between charges

“We want the AI to increase your battery life and recommend music to Apple Music subscribers,” he continued. AI is “horizontal in nature, running across all products” and is used “in ways that most people don’t even think about,” said the CEO.

“I think there is an incredible future ahead,” he said of AI.

Tim Cook Japan visit 001

Cook mentioned that AI could also “help you remember where you parked your car”.

iOS 10 already includes this feature in the Maps application, which automatically saves your car’s location as soon as the device has disconnected from CarPlay or in-car Bluetooth. The Yokohama facility, currently scheduled for completion in December, will focus on AI and similar technologies.

Cook described it as a center for “deep engineering” and said it will be “very different” from the R&D base Apple plans to build in China.

“I cannot tell you the specifics,” he said. “The specific work is very different.” The R&D center is the first of its kind outside the U.S., said Cook.

Apple also teamed up with IBM and Japan Post Holdings to offer health care services for the elderly, centered on the iPad. Given Japan’s rapidly aging population, Cook said the country “is in the best position to lead” the way on such technology.

Cook also used Apple Pay to ride Japan’s famous Yamanote transit line.

Thanks to FeliCa-compatible NFC chips inside the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 models sold in Japan, Apple Pay will be gaining support for Japanese railway JR East through its dedicated Suica payment system later this month.

“Japan is important to us. FeliCa was born in Japan. So by extension, FeliCa is important,” Cook explained, saying Apple Pay was designed to promote a cashless society. “We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system,” he said.

“We don’t think the consumer particularly likes cash.”

As part of his itinerary, Cook also met Nintendo’s legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Cook wrapped up his tour with a “Thank you, Japan” tweet in Japanese.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

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  • Ds

    Why not just put a bigger battery in the iPhone rather than come up with an AI to run battery performance because wouldn’t that AI itself at some point hinder battery performance?

    • rockdude094

      Bigger battery costs more money therefore lower profits for apple

      • Ds

        Well then if that is the case Apple should invest in SolidEnergy batteries. They can make a battery that last twice as long as the current iPhone battery and that is the same size. Or they can make a smaller battery that last just as long as current iPhone batteries do.

      • rockdude094

        It’s all about the cost. I read that article a while ago and has yet to be implemented

      • mrgerbik

        Barely. Lol were talking cents not dollars in bulk.
        Gimme a break

      • rockdude094

        Yeah but when you multiply that by the amount of phones they sell that’s a lot of cash that they’d be losing

      • mrgerbik

        The amount if money ‘lost’ in relation to their profit margin is negligible.

        Probably would be more then offset by the number of people purchasing a phone because they know it would really last them an entire day.

      • I don’t think Apple’s profit margins are as wildly high as you think they are. If that was really true, competing companies would have 0 problems releasing the same quality products at astronomically cheaper prices. Case in point, remember when Amazon was selling fire tablets at below cost knowing they’d make back their money on apps and books? Ever notice… this doesn’t happen? I don’t think it’s as high as people make it out to be.

      • Yeah but unless they can make more room inside the phone or thicken the phone where would they put that thicker battery?

      • mrgerbik

        are you an apple spokesman or apologist? or both?

      • Haha, neither. I just enjoy pointing out the obvious sometimes.

    • Rowan09

      Because the phone is already cramped inside and there’s only so big of a battery that can fit inside.

      • Ds

        again… Well then if that is the case Apple should invest in SolidEnergy batteries. They can make a battery that last twice as long as the current iPhone battery and that is the same size. Or they can make a smaller battery that last just as long as current iPhone batteries do.

      • Rowan09

        If that is such a simple solution why is no one else doing this?

      • Ds

        I’m assuming it’s because they are still a small startup company and do not have much if any real world usage yet other than their own test devices.

      • Rowan09

        Yeah battery tech is still old.

    • Not really. Remember that iPhones already get substantially better battery life than Samsung phones for this very reason. Things like background notifications, multitasking, background updates and more are all handled with AI already. Essentially this is nothing new (and if it was Tim Cook wouldn’t reveal it to the world this far ahead of iPhone 8), it’s just that Tim Cook is saying there is a lot more they can do in this area.

      • Mike

        After a while like 2 years later the iphone battery turns terrible. Everyone that has has an iphone 5s to iphone 6 from my friends and family complains about the battery dying too quick.

      • True, but unfortunately all batteries suffer this fate eventually. AI advancements may help mitigate this to some degree but until some major breakthrough occurs that revolutionizes our battery technology I don’t imagine it would help much on batteries that are 3+ years old.

    • peteywheats

      See: Samsung

  • Ducky

    Or they could stop with this childish thinnest phone competition and just put in a better battery.

    • Rowan09

      They did and if you notice the iPhone gets the same run time as any other phone with a bigger battery.

      • mrgerbik

        Imagine having a phone that was faster AND lasted longer.

        How is this a bad thing?

      • Rowan09

        That’s always welcomed but making batteries last a day is not just putting in a bigger battery is all I’m saying.

      • True, that’s been Samsung’s approach all along and we all know how that worked out for them.

    • Fun fact, did you know that after the initial launch of the iPhone Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive actually made molds of iPhones of all shapes and sizes (starting with a 7″iPhone phablet) and gradually began making smaller versions until they found something they thought worked well (the current dimensions of the plus series)?

      The point is, that from the iPhone 1 to the iPhone 6 Apple has stated the the main drive towards thinness was to allow a larger phone to sit more comfortably in the hand. One thing that you may not have noticed is that since the 6, the 6S and the 7 haven’t really become thinner or lighter. In fact the 6S was heavier than the 6.

      TL;DR it wasn’t childish, and it’s no longer occurring.

  • TechnoBuff

    Instead of putting more resources into boosting AI on Siri performance and putting a bigger battery on iphone, APPLE is wasting their resources

    Apple is really lagging behind in AI and very soon they wont be able to catch up at all.

    • Rowan09

      Where have you been Siri is always being updated and is far better than before. AI is the future and Apple is not wasting money because everyone is also investing in the same area. Apple just put in a bigger battery in the 7/7+ and battery performance is not an iPhone issue anymore for the most part.

      • TechnoBuff

        Never said Siri has not improved.. but when compared to Google Assistant… SIri is no match on any level.
        Apple has years to catch up with Google Assistant as it stands because Siri is improving slowly.
        Have you seen the conversational advances with Google assistant, Siri can barely answer any questions but simply pull up webpages for simple questions and struggles with some commands

      • Rowan09

        You’ve used Google Assistant?

      • TechnoBuff

        Absolutely i have
        Even Siri cant match the Google Now that is available on most phones.

      • Rowan09

        In regards to what now? How did you get to use Google Assistant? I use Google now on my S7 Edge and it’s great for Google services and that’s where it ends.

      • TechnoBuff

        Because some people already have access to the new Pixel phone….

      • Rowan09

        Why is Google Now so much better? From watching the Google IO they added features Siri already possessed in Assistant. I really don’t have any issue with Siri anymore, it’s pretty responsive.

      • TechnoBuff

        Guessed you looked at the wrong video..
        Ask Siri for the weather and it brings up the weather cards… Google assistant actually tells you the weather and shows the card…
        The list goes on.. Google assistant is good with conversational searches which is where the advances in AI is going towards, Siri is seriously lagging behind..
        I use Siri everyday but it is a hit or miss atimes.

      • Rowan09

        Not true. Ask Siri what you want to know and it will tell you. For example if you ask Siri what’s the weather it will show you, but if you ask tell me the weather it will tell you. Just like when I need to make a phone call on speakerphone I just ask Siri to make a phone call on speakerphone. Siri is lagging as stated before by “professionals” because Apple do not what to track people’s habits as much as Google does (since it makes its money on doing this).

      • TechnoBuff

        You are wrong on that , Siri still shows you the weather card without reading it out to you.
        You cant improve AI without using some form of data which is the knowledge graph Google Assistant uses to perfect itself.. So there are pros and cons to what Google and Apple is doing and it is showing in their AI offerings.
        Making a call through Siri is not an optimised use of AI, that is mundane

      • Rowan09

        No I’m not I just did it myself. Optimizing the AI is for use of everyday functions and simply making a call is mundane, but being specific is when AI is being optimized.

      • Mike

        The difference between the Google Assistant and Siri is that with Google Assistant you have it built into the messaging app so you don’t have to open another app just to find something. For example if I am texting my friend and I want to find a good movie or a place to eat I bring up Google Assistant straight in the text message and ask it “find good places to eat nearby” or “movies in theater.” Then it will show all the information in the text message which allows both people to see and pick what they want to do. It’s hands down the best AI that’s out there since its using all the information on Google to give you what you need.

      • Rowan09

        Hold on now how is it deemed the best and it’s not even in everyone’s hands yet?

      • Mike

        Do you know any other AI that is out there that compares to it? IBM has one but its not like that going to be a personal AI anytime soon. I personal think IBM has the best AI with Watson but after that it might be Google with DeepMind. The way it plays that game with AlphaGo is crazy! Even Elon Musk has said that with Google Deep Mind project is a 10 year jump for AI.

      • Rowan09

        Ok this is going too far. I’ll try Assistant for myself when it’s out and compare the 2 since I have the S7 Edge

  • Sohail Wahab

    Why wouldn’t Apple consume the same amount of

    • Rowan09

      How much money does Apple spend on the main board? Apple also doesn’t make batteries.

      • They might not make them directly but they actually have a lot of patents and innovations in this area. Remember when Apple announced a breakthrough in battery life by using a-symetricall terraced batteries? It’s like the A-chips. Apple designed them all, but they don’t actually make them.

      • Rowan09

        Yes it doesn’t seem like it’s ready for commercial usage yet.

      • Sorry I don’t follow… What doesn’t seem ready for commercial usage yet?

      • Rowan09

        Meaning for wide scale usage. It’s just like graphene is a miracle material but it’s way too expensive for commercial usage.

      • Well in that particular instance those batteries appeared in every single MacBook made the last few years. But if you’re talking about global applications I seriously doubt Apple would license those patents to competitors.

      • Rowan09

        Oh so they’re using the tech already?

    • I assume that you haven’t seen the inside of an iPhone before but trust me, there isn’t any wasted space. The other problem is that each year they need to add more hardware features to keep the phones “exciting and new” and any miniaturization that occurs (and believe me Apple is working very hard on this) is immediate consumed by things like 3D Touch displays or whatever new features were crammed in that year.

      • Sohail Wahab

        Yeah, probably!

  • edwilk55

    Make the phone 2mm thicker and you could triple the batter life! *anger emoji*

    • Buy a battery case?

      • Mike

        2mm thicker not 10.

  • Ok let me get this straight, you think that the 21% profit margin reported in that article are “wildly high”? I don’t know what to say then…

    As far as Chinese competitors remember that China uses very cheap labor. They can also build phones locally and don’t have the same shipping costs for parts that HTC or Apple do. A lot of Chinese phones also use Mediatek processors (which is also a Chinese chip) and while they have good specs overall they are not cutting edge quality chips that can compete with the offerings of Samsung or Apple for instance. Also, many of these phones use DDR3 RAM instead of DDR4 to also save on cost. The displays are also cheaper quality even further saving on price. Turns out it’s significantly cheaper to make a phone when you don’t design most of it but just buy stock parts and focus primarily a custom housing and Android skin.

    Another thing is that instead of producing large quantities of these phones and selling them for years they tend to make fixed batches (which is partly why the Xiaomi Mi4 sold out in less than a minute).

    Another downside is that these phones often don’t receive android updates with the same frequency and in some cases never at all.

    Anyways, all that to say, you can’t compare the offerings of HTC, Apple, Google or Samsung to companies like Xiaomi or Huawei because one group is working on creating phones that offer cutting edge breakthroughs and the best experience money can buy and the other is trying to balance cheap parts with decent performance and is trying to just make a little extra cash to supplement their other businesses.

    TL;DR I don’t agree with any of your premises so I’d argue that your conclusion is wrong.

    • mrgerbik

      IDB keeps deleting my posts…..

      Anyways TL;DR
      Google “most profitable corporations all time”

      Nuff said

      • Uhm… no? You do realize that wildly high profit margins are completely different from most profitable business right?

        A company with super high profit margins often won’t do very well as other companies come along with cheaper prices and take their business. The reason Apple has so much profit is because of how much they sell. When you have the number one tablet, laptop, all-in-one, phone and watch in the world you are selling a crazy amount of devices. It doesn’t take much profit to become wildly profitable if you’re selling more than anyone else.

        So again, “Most profitable corporations of all time” status tells you zero about how much their profit margins are.

      • mrgerbik

        Umm yes.
        Don’t play wordgames.

        Apple is hugely profitable.

        More importantly, the iPhone is still hugely profitable.

        Margins on the iphone are huge AND they sell ALOT of them.

      • Hahaha, there is a difference between playing word games and using the words YOU CHOSE according to their definitions.

        Apple is hugely profitable (we both agree).

        21% profit margin is not “wildly high” (we apparently disagree). Fact: the average profit for software and services is 20%. Your original statement was specifically about “profit margins” so that’s what I’ve tried to address. Or is your argument that since Apple is 1% higher than the competition it is wildly high? I’m arguing that Apple’s profit margins in their industry are fairly standard. Do you realize for instance that the gross profit margins on average in the furniture business is 40%? In case you struggle with math that’s almost double Apple’s margins.

        Here’s the thing. Profit margin is how much cash you take away after a sale. Profit is how much money you take away at the end of the day from the profit margin after employee expenses and what not have been deducted. (that’s semi simplified I know but adequate for this conversation). I agree with you 100%! Apple is one of the most profitable companies of all time. No one can disagree with that. But you have to do a lot more than use words incorrectly and then accuse me of playing word games to make your case that they are… well I actually don’t know what your point is in all of this. Are you arguing that the 1% extra profit margin is somehow making them evil and price gouging their customer base or something?