Apple 'secretly developing' M5 chips for AI cloud computing, using advanced new packaging tech

M3 MacBook Pro review
(Image credit: Future)

A new report says that Apple is “secretly developing chips for cloud AI computing” set to enter mass production next year, as part of the M5 generation of Apple silicon. 

The speculation comes by way of Digitimes, which notes Apple’s upcoming need to build its own data centers in order to meet the needs of Apple Intelligence and the demand placed on its infrastructure by users. While Apple has previously rented Google’s own data centers to train its AI, and used the M2 Ultra chip in its own data centers, Apple “will inevitably need new chips as demand for cloud-based AI computation continues to balloon.”

To that end, Digitimes notes Apple is working on chips for AI cloud computing “which will enter mass production at TSMC in the second half of 2025.” Digitimes further notes that “current market rumors suggest that Apple's upcoming cloud AI chips might be released to the public as part of its M5 series lineup.”

M5 to go even bigger on AI 

The notion of a “public release” of these cloud AI chips doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to buy one jammed inside Apple’s next best MacBook. Rather, Digitimes speculates that, while Apple “does not need” to advertise its cloud computing chops, “some insiders note that Apple may nevertheless mention its own cloud AI prowess in some way to strengthen the brand image of Apple Intelligence.” As such, the next generation of Apple silicon could include a heavy focus on how the chips will benefit Apple’s users and its AI ecosystem behind the scenes. 

Apple is reportedly going all in on using advanced tech for these chips, too. As the report notes, Apple previously used “a rather brute force approach” to create its previous M2 Ultra chip — simply sticking two M2 Max chips together. Going forward, Apple will reportedly use TSMC’s advanced SoIC packaging, a move that “could signal a strategy to cover all the bases from AI PCs to cloud AI applications”

TSMC’s SoIC technology is described by the company as an “ultra-high-density-vertical stacking for high performance, low power, and min RLC (resistance-inductance-capacitance).” The new SoIC tech uses both active and passive chips integrated into a new integrated SoC system “to achieve better form factor and performance.” As is often the case, the new chip tech will seek to deliver on all of the key performance metrics including power efficiency, speed, and performance. 

As noted, M5 is also of course coming to Apple’s users, and it could be closer than you might think. A recent iPad leak found in Apple’s code reveals the company is already at work on an M5 iPad Pro, alongside a new iPad mini 7, possibly with a view to moving its iPads to a yearly upgrade cycle, just like the iPhone. With this new report in mind, we could see an M5 iPad Pro as early as next year.

Can't wait for M5?

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9