During Apple’s product launch on the eve of Halloween, Apple CEO Tim Cook – dressed in all black at its headquarters based in Cupertino, California – introduced the next phase of Mac computers that feature more AI-driven. future.
The focus of the event, which had the tagline “frighteningly fast,” was Apple’s new custom chips for the M3, M3, M3 Pro and M3 Pro Max. These processors promise faster computing and graphics and longer battery life, but they can also better support advances in artificial intelligence because they are made with 3 nanometer technology, according to the company. The chips will ship with Apple’s latest MacBook Pro and iMac.
“The most advanced chips ever built for a personal computer,” Cook said. “This deep integration is something only Apple can do, and we never stop innovating.”
While companies like Microsoft, Google and Meta have openly discussed their plans for the future of AI, Apple has been less forthcoming. (However, it has reportedly been working on its own productive AI tools to compete with ChatGPT). Some analysts believe that Apple’s idea of how to support work in the field of AI and use the power of its new chip was reflected in the Halloween event.
“Apple may not talk about AI, but it knows very well that the use cases for this technology are growing and that the development work will require unprecedented computing power,” said Dipanjan Chatterjee, an analyst at Forrester. “That’s a huge opportunity that’s emerging, and Apple wants a piece of that pie.”
‘So, how hard can it be?‘
During the presentation, Apple showed how researchers can perform analysis on the M3 phone for complex tasks such as DNA/RNA sequencing, which can help detect early stage cancer or prevent epidemics, anywhere in the world. It also released a promo video showing how the Mac can be used to do anything from analyzing ECG signals to drawing galaxy structures. “It’s hard work,” said one actor in the video. “But you’re on Mac,” said another. “So how hard can it be?”
The development comes at a time when Apple is gaining ground in the traditional PC and laptop market but still ranks fourth behind Lenovo, Dell and HP in the number of products shipped, according to IDC Research. Apple said it will ship about 26 million Macs in 2022, making up 9.1% of the total market (up from 7.8% last year). At the same time, the PC market as a whole shipped about 292 million computers in the same year, down 15% from last year.
iPhone and Apple services — such as iCloud, Apple TV+ and Apple Music — remain the company’s biggest revenue driver, but sales of Macs and iPads have declined year-over-year, largely due to weak demand, excess inventory and the worst macroeconomic climate.
“Apple is looking at revenue compensation, especially going to the holidays, for the new iPhone 15, but the idea is that demand is low, especially in China which is an important market for the product,” said Chatterjee. “If iPhone revenue goes down, someone has to fix that.”
‘They build their own sandbox’
It is difficult, however, to predict how the new chip will affect the overall sales of the computer market, according to David McQueen, director at ABI Research. He said Apple aims to join Intel, along with Qualcomm, AMD, NVIDIA and Dell, not just as a performance leader but in chips that support AI tools related to productivity.
“It’s an important part of Apple’s strategy to ensure that its silicon performance can match or be ahead of its competitors,” McQueen said.
Meanwhile, Kieren Jessop, an analyst at UK-based market research firm Canalys, said Apple was less involved and more “running their own race.”
“Apple’s emphasis on the ‘Pro’ user makes it clear that they are asking developers to expand the capabilities of their platform … they are building their own sandbox for developers to build in,” he said.
While Apple’s vision for the AI era is still unclear, the introduction of the M3 chip for its MacBook Pro and iMac lines “reinforced its commitment to future AI integration,” he added.