A custom chip based on four M2 Ultras was set for the Apple Car, could it switch to the Mac?

Apple has canceled its Apple Car project and a new report claims it was going to use a new chip based on four M2 Ultras, Apple's most powerful chip yet.

1 minute & 42 seconds read time

The Apple Car project first began as Project Titan way back in 2014 and it's struggled ever since. Apple finally took the decision to cancel the project recently in a move that meant finding a home for its 2,000-strong team. Now, more details about the ill-fated project have started to leak and it seems that Apple's much-vaunted silicon team was heavily involved.

Writing as part of a Q&A session Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has confirmed that Apple was working on bringing some serious processing power to an electric vehicle that was expected to offer self-driving capabilities among other things. The chip that would power the whole thing, Gurman says, was equal to about four M2 Ultras combined, and its development was almost finished when the project was canceled.

A custom chip based on four M2 Ultras was set for the Apple Car, could it switch to the Mac? 02

Gurman says that Apple's most important focus in terms of the Apple Car was on its AI brain which might explain why it was keen to use a chip that would theoretically be fourth times as powerful as anything that it has shipped in a Mac. The M2 Ultra currently powers the Mac Studio and Mac Pro, while an M3 Ultra is surely going to be unveiled later this year. The M2 Ultra is a highly capable chip and the idea of four of them bonded together could potentially make for interesting implementations in the future. Could such a chip one day find its way into a high-end Mac?

Apple had previously tested bonding two M2 Ultra-class chips together to create something potentially labeled as an M2 Extreme. The chip was ultimately canceled but the expectation was that it would offer processing power hitherto unseen from a Mac. If Apple really was ready to put two of those unannounced M2 Extreme chips together to create a whole new chip for the Apple Car, we can imagine it would look to reuse that somewhere further down the line. A future Mac Pro would be the obvious place for such a chip and likely the only Mac capable of absorbing some of the costs associated with such a thing.

Gurman also says that Apple had initially looked to buy Tesla before turning the project into an in-house vehicle. Tesla was worth around $30 billion when Apple pondered the buyout in 2013-2014 and while meetings were held with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, nothing came to fruition. Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly ditched the plans after being warned how difficult the car business can be. That, seemingly, didn't stop him from green-lighting a decade-long attempt to launch one, however.

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NEWS SOURCES:bloomberg.com, apple.com

Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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