Apple plans to more than triple self-build critical capacity in 2023 and beyond, according to a report published by analytics firm Structure research.
Her report (by DailyHostNews) covers all major hyperscalers and identified Apple as the one that will grow the most in the next few years. Power capacity – w data center jargon – is an important growth metric as it indicates how much energy is available to power not only the servers but also other supporting functions such as lighting, Power plants, UPSair conditioning etc.
Apple is expected to add more than 1.4GW of capacity to reach 2GW, an increase of 233%, which is proportionally the highest among the competition. While Google is still the biggest player (with the potential to nearly double capacity to 3 GW), Apple is focusing solely on its own active devices; passed two billion in February 2023 and confirmed to have over 900 million iOS users subscribed to at least one application.
In other words, unlike Microsoft, Google and Amazon, Apple is not a public hyperscaler and, unlike Facebook, does not have to maintain a service that is used daily by billions of users across many different platforms.
The added power of the data center means that Apple may want to run services that require much more energy to run, which may be virtual/Augmented Reality (and there were a lot of rumors around Apple VR Headset) or a greater emphasis on services – which does not require new hardware. Yes, it could be argued that Apple could use the extra capacity to run Website builder services for the benefit of thousands small business that rely on iCloud, but we doubt it.
Siri meets ChatGPT?
Hundreds of millions of users have used it Siri already and remains Apple’s closest competitor for the current star attraction, ChatGPT. However, Siri – which turns 12 in 2023 – has largely remained in the shadows and limited to just one channel – voice. What if Siri’s involvement in users’ lives could go beyond the mundane?Hey Siri, what’s today’s news?into much deeper conversations in both audio, text and visual form?
There are three reasons why Apple might want to do this; firstly, it is another way to strengthen the attractiveness of the company’s ecosystem and another important point in its annual edition WWDC cabinet.
Second, Apple could terminate its lucrative search deal with Google by launching its own ChatGPT-style search engine with Siri at its core. The NY Times reported in 2020 that the deal was worth up to $12 billion a year, and that number is likely to increase as the number of active users also continues to grow. It’s a Google tax that, if withdrawn, could potentially eliminate a fifth of Google’s net income and cause its stock to collapse.
The third reason is that such a move would allow Apple to get its own AWS moment, creating something that would be the basis of future services; and it can do so using its own hardware: the M family and its neural engine.
We know that M1 UltraApple fastest processor so far had a performance of 22 TOPS (trillion operations per second), and now expectations – based on what we know about M2 – is that the M2 Ultra – due to launch in March 2023 – will break the 30 TOPS barrier.
With access to state-of-the-art lithography lines and vertical control over the entire hardware stack, Apple was able to imitate Amazon, whose Graviton AWS’s ARM-based processors are at risk Xeon AND Epic family lines. Is the hypothetical S1 (S for server) editor to power the next generation of Apple services?