Apple’s M2 Ultra may be their first AI server chip, taking data center control.


Compiled by: A Pen

Edited by: Cloud Peng

On May 10th, according to Bloomberg, Apple is set to introduce AI capabilities through data centers equipped with its own chips. Mark Gurman revealed that Apple plans to deploy high-end chips (similar to those designed for Mac) in its cloud computing servers to handle advanced AI tasks on Apple devices. Simpler AI-related tasks will be directly handled by the built-in chips in iPhones, iPads, and Macs to enhance efficiency and response speed.

About three years ago, Apple proposed the plan to utilize its own chips for AI tasks in the cloud. However, with the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT stirring up the AI craze, Apple has been compelled to accelerate its development to implement this plan sooner. It’s been leaked that over the past three years, Apple has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into this project, but there’s still room for improvement in its products. For users interested in chatbots, Apple has engaged in discussions with Google and OpenAI and plans to integrate chatbot technology into iPhones and iPads.

Bloomberg reports that Apple’s first AI server chip will be the M2 Ultra, which was introduced in 2023 alongside the Mac Pro and Mac Studio computers. Currently, Apple is evaluating whether to adopt the M4 chip in future versions of AI servers.

Currently, Apple plans to initially utilize its own data centers to support its products and services in the cloud, but it may rely on external facilities in the future, similar to services like iCloud. Apple’s Chief Financial Officer, Luca Maestri, stated, “We have our own data center capacity and we also use third-party capacity. This strategy has proven effective in the past, so the company plans to continue this approach.”

This approach, according to Bloomberg, signifies a shift for Apple. Over the years, Apple has prioritized edge AI, viewing it as a better way to ensure security and privacy. Members involved in creating Apple’s AI server chip project (code-named ACDC) revealed that existing components in the processor can protect user privacy, and the company can use the Secure Enclave method to isolate data from security vulnerabilities.

Mark Gurman mentioned that AI capabilities on Apple devices remain an important part of its AI strategy, but some new features on the device side may require more powerful and efficient processing power to achieve. This necessitates Apple’s latest chips to support, such as the A18 chip first introduced in iPhones in 2023, and the M4 chip recently debuted in iPad Pro.

Currently, Apple is undergoing a product line upgrade plan, with one initiative being the introduction of the next-generation processor – M4. It’s reported that products like the Mac mini, iMac, and MacBook Pro will start using the M4 chip later this year, and next year, this chip will be used in more products, including MacBook Air, Mac Studio, and Mac Pro, among others.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said, “We believe AI has transformative power and tremendous potential. We also believe that Apple’s advantages will enable us to stand out in this new era, such as our ability to seamlessly integrate hardware, software, and services to provide users with a better experience.”

Conclusion: Apple’s AI potential is promising, but the challenges it faces cannot be ignored.

In today’s digital age, AI has become one of the core battlegrounds where tech giants compete, and Apple is no exception. In Apple’s future AI strategy, proprietary chips are expected to play a crucial role. From the upcoming launch of the first AI server equipped with the M2 Ultra chip to the possible introduction of the M4 chip in device-side products, Apple integrates AI technology into its product ecosystem, enhancing its competitiveness in the smart device market.

However, despite Apple’s achievements in the AI field, the challenges it faces should not be underestimated. With the continuous advancement of AI technology, the market competition is becoming fiercer, and the demand for intelligent products and services from users is constantly increasing. Additionally, the development of AI technology has brought about many ethical and privacy issues. Among them, the massive collection and application of personal data have raised concerns about data privacy and security from users.

In the future, Apple still needs to strengthen technological innovation, improve product performance and user experience, while also prioritizing data privacy and security to address the ethical challenges brought by the development of AI technology, ensuring its leading position and user trust in the era of intelligence.

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