Apple plans to use M2 Ultra chips in the cloud for AI

Apple plans to start its foray into generative AI by offloading complex queries to M2 Ultra chips running in data centers before moving to its more advanced M4 chips.

Bloomberg reports that Apple plans to put its M2 Ultra on cloud servers to run more complex AI queries, while simple tasks are processed on devices. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Apple wanted to make custom chips to bring to data centers to ensure security and privacy in a project the publication says is called Project ACDC, or Apple Chips in Data Center. But the company now believes its existing processors already have sufficient security and privacy components.

The chips will be deployed to Apple’s data centers and eventually to servers run by third parties. Apple runs its own servers across the United States and has been working on a new center in Waukee, Iowa, which it first announced in 2017.

While Apple has not moved as fast on generative AI as competitors like Google, Meta, and Microsoft, the company has been putting out research on the technology. In December, Apple’s machine learning research team released MLX, a machine learning framework that can make AI models run efficiently on Apple silicon. The company has also been releasing other research around AI models that hint at what AI could look like on its devices and how existing products, like Siri, may get an upgrade

Apple put a big emphasis on AI performance in its announcement of the new M4 chip, saying its new neural engine is “an outrageously powerful chip for AI.” 

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Emilia David