Apple's Historic Partnership With OpenAI Is Now Official. Here's What That Means

Although Apple presented a more proprietary generative AI model than had been expected, the agreement with OpenAI is fundamental. It integrates ChatGPT into iOS.

The collaboration between Apple and OpenAI is now official
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Apple has announced the arrival of Apple Intelligence, its generative AI for its devices and apps, as a capstone to its WWDC 2024 keynote. Although much of this new offering comes from in-house developments, it also includes an official integration with OpenAI.

Why it matters. Apple users have been waiting for the company to enter the generative AI space for quite some time, and its appearance will certainly be celebrated. Apple was the only industry giant that hadn't yet made the leap. And for Apple, a company that prioritizes vertical integration, it’s notable that it chose to enter the AI space with a third party like OpenAI. That doesn't mean the new agreement is bad news. Far from it.

Details of the partnership.

  • Apple will integrate ChatGPT into experiences within iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15, allowing users to access GPT-4o capabilities without leaving their regular apps.
  • Siri will also be able to tap into ChatGPT when it considers it could be helpful. The assistant will ask users for their permission before sending questions, documents, or photos to the chatbot.
  • ChatGPT will be available as a part of Apple’s Writing Tools for content creation and image generation.
  • The integration will be rolled out this year. It'll be free and won’t require an OpenAI account. However, ChatGPT Plus subscribers can link their accounts to Apple devices to take advantage of paid features.
  • Apple promises to protect user privacy: According to Apple, OpenAI won’t store requests. The company will also hide users’ IPs.

What the key players say.

  • Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, emphasized that Apple’s AI would be better than other options because it's  integrated into its apps and has data about the user and their context. In comparison, other “chat tools that are great but know very little about you,” Federighi said. 
  • OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said he was excited to partner with Apple to bring ChatGPT to its users and that Apple “shares our commitment to safety and innovation, and this partnership aligns with OpenAI’s mission to make advanced AI accessible to everyone. Together with Apple, we’re making it easier for people to benefit from what AI can offer.”

Context. The launch of ChatGPT in late 2022 sparked a revolution. Microsoft, already an OpenAI partner, invested billions more dollars in the project and began incorporating the startup's technology into several of its products. Google fought back with its chatbots and by adding AI answers to searches.

Apple CEO Tim Cook took a cautious approach. More than a year later, Apple has moved forward in this area hand-in-hand with the company that started the revolution.

Image | Apple

Related | A Brief Look at Apple's First WWDC in 1983: An Event With Many Questions About How to Use a Mouse and the User Interface Revolution

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