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Apple’s On-Server Generative AI Features to Use Confidential Computing for Privacy: Report

As per the report, the company’s Apple Chips in Data Centres (ACDC) project will enable confidential computing.

Apple’s On-Server Generative AI Features to Use Confidential Computing for Privacy: Report

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Medhat Dawoud

Apple WWDC 2024 is scheduled for June 10

  • Reportedly, even Apple employees will not be able to access the data
  • It is said that Apple has been developing this technology for three years
  • Apple’s AI features are expected to be unveiled at WWDC 2024

Apple will be hosting its annual developer-focused event, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), in less than two weeks. It is expected that the Cupertino-based tech giant will introduce several new artificial intelligence (AI) features to Siri, Safari browser, Photos app, and more during the event. Previously, it was reported that some of these features might be server-based, which could create privacy concerns among its user base. However, a new report now suggests that the company has developed a confidential computing technique to ensure privacy even on the cloud.

Apple said to bring Confidential Computing for AI features

According to a report by The Information, the company is working on a technology that lets it process data on the servers in a way that will be inaccessible to anyone, including Apple employees. In industry terms, it is known as confidential computing, a method of isolating data within a processing unit. Once, it is processed, the data is encrypted and sent back to the source.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the report claimed that the tech giant has been working on such a technology for the last three years. Dubbed Apple Chips in Data Centres (ACDC) internally, the project was also reported earlier by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The secure black box processing is so adept that even if governments and courts formally request the data, Apple will be able to say that it does not have access to the data, the report highlighted mentioning the sources.

However, risks are still there. For instance, if a hacker physically breaks into a server location, they might be able to get access to the data. For most parts though, it will reportedly be able to provide relief to its user base regarding data privacy.

How Apple may use this technology

Apple's primary implementation of this technology will reportedly offer AI features to the iPhone, Macbook, and other devices over servers to minimise on-device processing. This will enable the company to provide more sophisticated and advanced AI features without worrying whether the hardware will be able to handle them. However, in the long run, Apple may also use this technology to develop lightweight wearable devices with advanced processing taking place on the server, the report claimed. If this happens, one beneficiary will be the Apple Vision Pro, which has been criticised for its bulky appearance and the requirement of carrying a large external battery.

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Akash Dutta
Akash Dutta is a Senior Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He is particularly interested in the social impact of technological developments and loves reading about emerging fields such as AI, metaverse, and fediverse. In his free time, he can be seen supporting his favourite football club - Chelsea, watching movies and anime, and sharing passionate opinions on food. More
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