Apple Could Be Pushing More AI With New M4 Chips for Macs, iPads

Apple's next M-series chips are coming later this year, according to a new report.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read
Apple MacBook Air M3 13-inch and 15-inch laptops on a wood table.

Apple is seeking to emphasize the AI technologies in its chips.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Apple is preparing to push even further into artificial intelligence with its next generation of M-series chips for Mac computers and iPads, according to a new report. The chips, likely to be called M4, are expected to launch later this year.

Though Apple has included an onboard "neural engine" for years in its chips for iPhones, iPads and Macs, Bloomberg reported Thursday that the company plans to "highlight the AI processing capabilities" of its chips, and "how they'll integrate with the next version of macOS." 

Representatives for Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple's moves to emphasize the AI technologies in its chips is hardly a surprise. The tech industry has been realigning itself around an AI-related boom in investments, product sales and future technologies ever since startup OpenAI's ChatGPT launched in 2022. Back then, the company saw a massive wave of interest that led to more than 100 million people trying its app in two months, making it one of the world's most successful product launches. In response, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon and many others have been adding AI functionality to their products and services at a rapid clip

Read more: AI Atlas: Your Guide to Today's Artificial Intelligence

Not to be outdone, chip- and device-makers have been adding AI to their products too. Qualcomm, Intel and AMD are increasingly talking about how their chips can power AI tasks on smartphones, tablets, computers and servers. AI chip darling Nvidia, meanwhile, has pushed its efforts to power the computers behind many AI technologies even further. As a result, the tech industry has gone into overdrive marketing any way its computers or devices can be connected to AI.

Meanwhile, millions of people have continued to explore how these technologies can impact their work and everyday life. (For hands-on CNET reviews of generative AI products including Gemini, Claude, ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot, along with AI news, tips and explainers, see our new AI Atlas project.)

Apple's renewed emphasis on AI won't just be limited to its chips. Apple is also reportedly planning a series of upgrades to its MacOS software for computers, and iOS and iPadOS software powering iPhones and iPads, during its Worldwide Developers Conference starting June 10. Though the company's been tight-lipped about its plans, rumors suggest the company will emphasize new AI features then as well.

As for Apple's M4 chips, Bloomberg's report suggests the company won't upgrade all its computers at once. Rather, the M4 rollout will happen over the coming year or so, after its expected start this fall. 

Read moreiPhone AI Evolution: What the Rumors Say About iOS 18

Editors' note: CNET used an AI engine to help create several dozen stories, which are labeled accordingly. The note you're reading is attached to articles that deal substantively with the topic of AI but are created entirely by our expert editors and writers. For more, see our AI policy.