News Hub

Apple developing AI data centre chips

Written by Thu 9 May 2024

Apple is currently working on a silicon chip designed to manage artificial intelligence (AI) workloads in data centres.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal this project, codenamed Project ACDC (Apple Chips in Data Centre), has been in the works for several years. There is, however, no release date available for the chips at this time.

This news may come as a relief to investors, whose concerns that Apple is falling behind in AI R&D may have contributed to the recent 10% decline in the value of Apple stock.

According to Reuters, Apple is expected to unveil new AI features at its annual software conference next month and overhaul its product lines with AI-ready chips.

Apple chips are likely intended for running AI models rather than training them. Inference chips, optimised for operational efficiency, handle AI model execution. Training chips, like those from NVIDIA, manage the hefty computational demands of AI model development.

Manufacturing the chips in-house may provide Apple with two types of competitive advantage. First, chips can be customised to specifically augment the capabilities of Apple data centres, making implementation and integration faster and easier than using chips from other manufacturers.

Having control over chip production can also help insulate Apple from chip shortages like those that recently rocked the global supply chain.

This is not Apple’s only foray into chip manufacturing. In fact, Apple has produced chips for iPhones, iPads, and other popular consumer products since 2010. In 2023 the company provided 100% of Mac laptops with their own chips, ending Apple’s reliance on chips from Intel.

“One of the most, if not the most, profound change at Apple, certainly in our products over the last 20 years, is how we now do so many of those technologies in-house,” said John Ternus, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering at Apple.

Creating chips to power AI applications, and manage AI workloads in the data centre, is not an idea that is unique to Apple. Recently Microsoft unveiled custom-designed AI chips which are expected to debut at Microsoft data centres later this year. Google is also using the silicon chips designed in-house to train its Gemini AI model.

Join Data Centre World Frankfurt

22-23 May 2024, Messe Frankfurt

Experience Germany’s largest gathering of data centre professionals and end-users.

Don’t miss your chance to carve out successful strategies and find solutions that future-proof your next generation of data centres.

Written by Thu 9 May 2024

Send us a correction Send us a news tip