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Apple Reportedly Working on Chips to Power AI Software in Data Centers

ByHuey Yee Ong

May 8, 2024

Apple Reportedly Working on Chips to Power AI Software in Data Centers

Apple is reportedly advancing its artificial intelligence capabilities by developing proprietary chips designed for data center applications, known as Project ACDC (Apple Chips in Data Center).

This initiative, highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal report, underscores the tech giant’s commitment to enhancing its technological footprint in AI, despite the lack of a definitive timeline for the project’s completion.

The project has been a multi-year endeavor, and Apple has been collaborating with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. on the design and production aspects of these chips. However, it remains unclear if these efforts have led to any concrete outcomes so far. The focus of these chips, according to industry insiders, is on AI inference rather than training AI models.

This strategic choice indicates Apple’s intent to improve the efficiency of applying already trained AI models to new data, a function that is increasingly becoming critical as AI applications proliferate.

Apple’s approach contrasts with that of Nvidia, which continues to lead in the AI training sector. By focusing on inference, Apple may carve out a niche within the competitive landscape, which also includes other tech behemoths like Google, who have similarly developed their own AI inference chips for internal use. This trend among leading tech companies aims to reduce their dependence on external chip manufacturers.

Behind in AI but Not Giving Up

Despite the enthusiasm for its AI development, Apple has been perceived as trailing behind other industry giants like Microsoft, which have heavily invested in AI technology and infrastructure.

CEO Tim Cook emphasized the significance of AI during Apple’s latest quarterly earnings call, expressig confidence in the company’s unique strengths in this arena. “We believe in the transformative power and promise of AI, and we believe we have advantages that will differentiate us in this new era,” Cook stated.

Additionally, Cook revealed during the earnings call that Apple would be making an AI-related announcement later this year, which is highly anticipated to occur at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. This announcement is part of Apple’s broader strategy of significant investment in AI technology, reflecting its commitment to maintaining and expanding its industry leadership.

Despite a 4% drop in overall revenue, primarily due to declining iPhone sales, Apple’s fiscal second-quarter earnings still exceeded expectations. The company also announced a substantial $110 billion share buyback, the largest in its history, which contributed to a surge in its share price.

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Featured Image courtesy of Jing Xu/REUTERS

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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