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Ex-Apple designer Jony Ive and OpenAI's Sam Altman reportedly working on AI hardware project

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A report from The Information claims Jony Ive, former chief design officer of Apple, is exploring opportunities to collaborate with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on building an AI-focused hardware device.

Ive and Altman, who are said to be friends, have been in talks about what "new hardware for the AI age could look like." However, details on the potential device are scarce. It's unclear if it would be developed through OpenAI, Altman-backed hardware startup Tools for Humanity, or a separate venture.

Altman has prior experience partnering with Ive's former colleagues on new products. Ive's first hire at Apple, Thomas Meyerhoffer, designed the AI-powered Orb human eye scanner through Tools for Humanity.

The sources said that SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has also been involved in the early discussions between Ive and Altman. As the head of one of the largest AI investors, Son could provide support if the project moves forward.

Over the past decade, Son has funneled over $140 billion into AI through SoftBank. His involvement could signal ambitions for the potential new hardware to play a role in the emerging AI industry.

In case you missed it, Jony Ive left Apple in 2019 after working there for over 30 years. He said he wants to focus his attention on designing wearables and health and wellness products.

In 2021, he was joined by another Apple employee, Marc Newson, to form their own independent design firm called LoveFrom. Since then, the company has kept a low profile and its only client other than Apple is Airbnb, which signed a multi-year deal in 2020.

On the other hand, OpenAI has recently collaborated with some tech giants like Microsoft. In this regard, Microsoft is integrating AI (specifically GPT) into its products and services, from Office 365 to Bing. Last week, the company unveiled Microsoft Copilot as "your everyday AI companion."

Source: The Information (Paywall)

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