Apple Boosts AI Plans with Custom Chips in Data Centers: Report
Apple Boosts AI Plans with Custom Chips in Data Centers: Report

Apple is gearing up to introduce new artificial intelligence (AI) features this year, utilizing its custom-designed processors in data centers. This move is part of Apple's broader strategy to weave AI into its product range.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the tech giant aims to incorporate high-performance chips into its cloud-computing servers for handling advanced AI tasks. Meanwhile, simpler functions will still be processed on devices like iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

This strategy aligns with Apple's ambitions in generative AI, an area where it's been trailing behind competitors. The surge in AI, exemplified by technologies like ChatGPT, has pushed Apple to accelerate its own efforts. The company is expected to outline its ambitious AI plans at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10.

Apple's cloud-based AI operations will kick off using its M2 Ultra chips, first seen in the Mac Pro and Mac Studio, with future iterations set to integrate the M4 chip. This shift from Apple's usual focus on on-device processing signals a pivot towards tackling more complex AI tasks that demand cloud computing.

The report highlights that these cloud-based AI capabilities will enable features such as summarizing news articles and crafting detailed email responses. Simpler tasks like condensing missed iPhone notifications will remain the domain of device-based processors. Apple's AI-driven services are slated to debut with iOS 18 this autumn, aiming to strike a balance between user privacy and robust AI functionality, backed by the company's Secure Enclave approach for data security.

Initially, Apple plans to utilize its own data centers for these endeavors, but it may eventually explore external facilities, similar to its iCloud services. Luca Maestri, Apple's chief financial officer, hinted at this approach during a recent earnings call, citing the success of a mixed in-house and third-party resource model.

The tech giant has been pouring significant investments into its AI infrastructure, dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars to its cloud-based initiative over the last three years. Despite these efforts, there are still gaps in its offerings, leading to discussions with Alphabet's Google and OpenAI about integrating chatbots into iPhones and iPads.

CEO Tim Cook highlighted Apple's distinctive AI approach during the earnings call, stressing the advantages of the seamless integration of hardware, software, and services. While Cook didn't delve into specifics, he emphasized Apple's commitment to privacy, hinting at its significance as a key differentiator as the company embraces AI.

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