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Apple in talks with OpenAI to bring AI features to the iPhone

Apple and OpenAI logos together

Apple is actively pursuing partnerships with leading AI companies to enhance the capabilities of its upcoming iOS 18 operating system for the iPhone. The Cupertino company is engaged in discussions with OpenAI to incorporate the company's generative AI technology into new features for the iPhone.

This move comes just about a month and a half before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2024, where the company is expected to unveil iOS 18 and showcase its latest AI-powered features.

Apple's goal is to position these AI features as seamlessly integrated into its devices, with a strong emphasis on robust privacy protections – a core tenet of the company's brand identity. However, Apple has not yet made a final decision on which partners it will ultimately work with, and there is no guarantee that a deal will be reached with any of the current contenders, including OpenAI and Google.

The company may potentially choose a different provider entirely for its generative AI integration features.

Apple was also involved in discussions with Google to potentially incorporate the search giant's AI chatbot capabilities into the iPhone ecosystem. Earlier this month, reports surfaced that the initial set of AI features on iOS 18 will be designed to run locally on the iPhone, without the need for cloud processing. Apple plans to leverage its on-device neural engine and large language model to power these privacy-focused AI enhancements.

CEO Tim Cook has previously acknowledged that he personally uses OpenAI's ChatGPT but has also expressed concerns about certain issues that need to be addressed. Cook has emphasized that Apple will approach the integration of new AI features on its platforms on a "very thoughtful basis."

Relying on partnerships with AI providers could help Apple sidestep some of the risks and liabilities associated with developing its own generative AI technology from scratch. By outsourcing these features to external partners, Apple may be able to more quickly introduce chatbot-like capabilities on the iPhone while maintaining its focus on user privacy and responsible AI implementation.

The upcoming WWDC 2024 event in June is expected to provide more details on Apple's AI strategy and the specific features that will be included in iOS 18.

Via Bloomberg (paywall)

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