‘Unacceptable:’ Elon Musk Threatens to Ban Apple Devices From His Companies After OpenAI Deal

  • Musk cites privacy and security concerns.

  • He says he’ll ban Apple devices if the company “integrates OpenAI at the OS level.”

Elon Musk
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At Monday’s WWDC 2024, Apple announced a partnership with OpenAI to bring ChatGPT to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. The news, which was partly expected given previous rumors and leaks, prompted a reaction from noted OpenAI antagonist Elon Musk. Musk expressed concerns about issues like privacy and security.

The xAI CEO, and co-founder of OpenAI, even stated that he would ban Apple devices from his companies if Apple “integrates OpenAI at the OS level.” He also called the deal “an unacceptable security violation” and mentioned that visitors would have to leave their Apple devices in “a Faraday cage” at the entrance to his offices.

Musk Lashes Out Against Apple

Musk continued to post messages on X after WWDC, accusing Apple of being unaware of what happens “once they hand your data over to OpenAI.” However, at the time of publication, Musk didn’t provide concrete details on what a ban would entail. It’s important to note that Musk holds leadership positions at Tesla, SpaceX, X (formerly Twitter), and Neuralink.

A ban on Apple products, such as the iPhone, and perhaps the iPad and Mac, as well, would be a drastic measure. In any case, it’s worth noting that many of Musk’s statements often don’t come true, even though they receive significant media attention due to his influential position in the business world.

We’ll have to wait to see what happens, but in the meantime, we can analyze Apple’s announcement. The company intends to primarily use its own language models to power most of its systems’ artificial intelligence functions, though it has expressed a desire for users to also utilize external models.

Elon Musk 1

The agreement with OpenAI is part of this effort. With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15, users will be able to access ChatGPT and use GPT-4o for free and through the new Siri and system scripting tools. Apple states that user requests won’t be logged and that permission will be sought before any information is sent to OpenAI.

Siri’s new capabilities, such as its enhanced language understanding, will be supported by Apple Intelligence. When a user submits a query that needs external information, the voice assistant will request permission to share the question with ChatGPT. Additionally, users will be able to include images or documents for presentations.

Elon Musk 2 Siri will ask for permission before sending ChatGPT a question.

At the writing level, ChatGPT will help users write content anywhere in the system and generate images. For example, individuals can use it to write a story and illustrate it. It’s currently unclear, though, how the process of activating OpenAI’s conversational chatbot features in the system will work.

It’s worth noting that Apple has promised to add support for other external AI models in the future, so we could potentially see Google or Anthropic technology integrated into the company's offerings, as well. You should also keep in mind that Musk has been in dispute with OpenAI for some time now.

Earlier this year, the mercurial billionaire sued the company led by Sam Altman for breaching its founding principles. In the midst of this controversy, a story emerged that Musk, who was part of OpenAI’s founding team, wanted to merge the startup with Tesla.

At that time, things didn’t end well, and Musk ended up leaving OpenAI in February 2018, apparently to avoid a conflict of interest because the electric vehicle company was also working with AI for its autonomous driving systems. In addition, Musk currently has his own AI company called xAI. Given this context, Musk's criticism of Apple and OpenAI’s new partnership is certainly no surprise.

Image | Daniel Oberhaus (2018) | Apple

Related | Apple’s Historic Partnership With OpenAI Is Now Official. Here’s What That Means

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