Apple is reportedly developing chips to run artificial intelligence software in data centers

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An Apple store in Shanghai, China.
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Apple has been developing chips to run artificial intelligence software in data centers, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. 

Project ACDC (Apple Chips in Data Center), which has been in the works for several years, has no clear timeline, WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the matter. 

The iPhone maker has been working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. on the chip’s design and production, though it remains uncertain whether the efforts have yielded any positive results, the report said. 

WSJ said Apple’s server chip will likely be focused on AI inference, rather than on training AI models — an area which experts have said will continue to be dominated by American chip giant Nvidia.

In AI, inference is the process that trained machine learning models use to draw conclusions from brand-new data. Other large tech companies, such as Google, have invested in the development of their own AI inference server chips as part of efforts to untether themselves from chip designers.

Experts have pointed out that Apple was behind in the AI race while rivals such as Microsoft have invested billions into AI technology and infrastructure.

CEO Tim Cook said in February that the company was “investing significantly” in the technology and would make an AI-related announcement later this year. Analysts expect the company to make the announcement at its Worldwide Developers Conference slated for June.

In Apple’s latest quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Cook told investors that the company was continuing to invest in AI. “We believe in the transformative power and promise of AI, and we believe we have advantages that will differentiate us in this new era,” he said. 

Apple’s fiscal second-quarter earnings beat expectations despite overall revenue dropping 4% amid falling iPhone sales. The company also announced a $110 billion share buyback on Thursday, the largest in its history, resulting in a jump in share price. 

Read the full report on The Wall Street Journal.

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