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Apple Car had the most powerful chip Apple ever developed, and I want it in my next Mac

Published Mar 12th, 2024 10:08AM EDT
Apple CarPlay tricks displayed in a Tesla Model S
Image: Jonathan S. Geller

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With the Apple Car project canceled, we’re now discovering several details about what went wrong, the possible designs it could have had, and now that the Apple Silicon team was heavily involved in this project.

In a Q&A stream about the Apple Car project, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman discussed several tidbits about it, including what would power this vehicle. He wrote:

Perhaps reluctantly, the Apple Silicon team was heavily involved in the Apple car project. Remember, the most important part of the car was its AI brain. That all ran on Apple silicon. The chip Apple developed was nearly finished. It was equal to about four M2 Ultras combined.

Currently, the M2 Ultra chip is Apple’s most powerful processor to date. A single chip has 134 billion transistors and features a 24-core CPU, a 76-core GPU, and a dedicated 32-core Neural Engine. Multiplying this by four would mean crazy specs, even for a car.

Since Gurman believes this chip was nearly finished, it means Apple wouldn’t scrap all the hard work. Previously, it was rumored that Apple was readying an M2 Extreme processor, which would combine four M2 Max processors. If Cupertino was able to combine four of them, what could the company call it?

With that power, I wonder if we could see its capabilities in a new computer, such as a Mac Pro. With the company rumored to focus on several AI features, starting with iOS 18 and macOS 15, Apple could unlock exclusive functions with Large Language Models with this absurdly powerful chip.

Apple canceled the M2 Extreme chip, but this Apple Car processor would be even more powerful

2019 Mac Pro IntelImage source: Apple Inc.

With Gurman being the one reporting that this M2 Extreme chip was canceled due to its costs, Apple would have spent at least $10,000 for each processor. Four M2 Ultra chips combined could have cost Apple $20,000.

While it makes more sense to add this pricing to a car costing more than $100,000, it might be hard to justify it for a computer – although it could also be justifiable with a Mac Pro.

When this chip was canceled, the journalist said Apple was still testing an all-new Mac Pro, which means the dream of an absurdly powerful chip might not be dead. Over the next few years, we’ll surely see the advancements made with the Apple Car in other projects, such as Apple Vision Pro, the iPhone, Mac, and more.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.