Tony Fadell Warns Apple Has ‘Zero’ Data Center Muscle for AI Arms Race

In a scathing critique, former senior Apple executive Tony Fadell warned the iPhone maker is massively ill-equipped to take on the AI superpowers when it comes to the data center infrastructure required to power advanced AI models and services at scale.

“Apple has ZERO data center capabilities relative to the leaders & why it needs to partner with Google/OpenAI/etc,” Fadell wrote in a widely shared X post.

The blunt assessment from Fadell – who led Apple’s influential iPod and original iPhone hardware teams – comes amid heightened expectations for the tech behemoth to reveal its generative AI game plan at its annual developer conference next month. But the erstwhile insider contends any such plans are likely doomed by Apple’s failure to invest sufficiently in the hyperscale data centers and computing power that underpin AI breakthroughs.

Tony Fadell

Taking a Swipe at Apple’s Capital Return Strategy

In his broadside, Fadell argued Apple’s $90 billion stock buyback program runs counter to the “capital investments in AI, data centers, etc.” being made by rivals to fortify their positions. He even invoked the philosophy of late founder Steve Jobs “loathed stock buybacks” because they did little to feed the company’s all-important innovation pipeline.

While admitting Apple has experience operating data centers to serve software and services at scale, Fadell dismissed that institutional knowledge as inadequate for modern AI workloads. Simply put, he sees Apple’s lack of raw data center capacity as a fatal flaw that may require it to partner with others already ahead of the game.

Apple has remained largely silent on its AI strategy amid the frenzy over AI, while deflecting criticism that it’s fallen behind. If Fadell’s assessment proves accurate, playing catch-up could prove exceedingly difficult – and costly – versus competitors that capitalized on building hyperscale AI-first infrastructure years ago.

Latest

Meet the Cortex-X925, A725, and A520 – ARM 2024 Latest Flagship and Efficiency Cores

Every year, Arm's CPU core announcements set the stage...

Shooting with the vivo X100 Ultra: A Photographer’s Wildest Dream?

I'll be honest, when vivo first unveiled the X100...

Xiaomi Launches Affordable Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Switches for Sweet Network Speeds

Just when you thought Xiaomi was done launching every...

AMD’s EPYC 4004 Chips Are a Dagger Aimed at Intel’s Server Heart

Intel's server dominance is facing a serious challenge. AMD's...

Newsletter

Don't miss

Meet the Cortex-X925, A725, and A520 – ARM 2024 Latest Flagship and Efficiency Cores

Every year, Arm's CPU core announcements set the stage...

Shooting with the vivo X100 Ultra: A Photographer’s Wildest Dream?

I'll be honest, when vivo first unveiled the X100...

Xiaomi Launches Affordable Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Switches for Sweet Network Speeds

Just when you thought Xiaomi was done launching every...

AMD’s EPYC 4004 Chips Are a Dagger Aimed at Intel’s Server Heart

Intel's server dominance is facing a serious challenge. AMD's...

Microsoft Copilot+PCs Fires a Blistering AI Broadside at Apple Dominance

Satya Nadella has a bold message for Apple: the...
Max Hyland
Max Hyland
Long form contributor Apple iPhone, iPad, watch reviews, opinion, editorial

Meet the Cortex-X925, A725, and A520 – ARM 2024 Latest Flagship and Efficiency Cores

Every year, Arm's CPU core announcements set the stage for the next generation of smartphone and computing performance. And with the newly unveiled 2024...

Shooting with the vivo X100 Ultra: A Photographer’s Wildest Dream?

I'll be honest, when vivo first unveiled the X100 Ultra and its ridiculously specced camera array headlined by an almost suspiciously capable ultra-telephoto lens,...

Xiaomi Launches Affordable Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Switches for Sweet Network Speeds

Just when you thought Xiaomi was done launching every gadget under the sun, the company surprises us with a couple of new networking switches....