Apple could choose multiple partners for generative AI on iPhone



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Summary

Apple is reportedly in talks with Alphabet, OpenAI, and Anthropic about using generative AI in iOS 18. Instead of committing to a single partner, Apple could rely on multiple vendors and open up iPhone AI to developers.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is currently in talks with several potential partners about integrating generative AI into the upcoming iOS 18 operating system.

These partners include Google, OpenAI and Anthropic. Talks with Google are most active in the USA. In China, Apple is reportedly negotiating with Baidu.

The idea is that a chatbot service like Google’s Gemini would be deeply integrated into Apple’s operating systems, while Apple’s own AI engine would take on background tasks in the new software.

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The exact terms of a potential partnership, including whether it will happen at all, are still up in the air, Gurman said. An exclusive partnership between the two companies would be risky given the antitrust scrutiny of both Apple and Google.

Apple could rely on several partners for generative AI

It seems more likely that Apple will work with multiple partners and open up iOS to third-party generative AI systems. If Apple works with multiple services, the model could be similar to choosing the search engine provider for the web browser:

The question, however, is why Apple needs – or wants – to rely on outside providers for such an important feature instead of developing it in-house. Gurman suggests a number of possible reasons:

  • Apple could pay to integrate third-party AI. Google could become the preferred provider on iPhones and Android devices.

This could be similar to the current and controversial search engine deal between Apple and Google, which could be upended by the Digital Markets Act. Google pays Apple about $20 billion a year to remain the default search engine on the iPhone. That seems the most likely motivation.

  • Perhaps Apple does not believe in the added value of AI chatbots, but wants to meet user demand and make money.

That sounds like a fair point. Chatbots are not yet a proven business model. ChatGPT on the web isn’t growing anymore, and OpenAI’s attempts to accelerate growth through plugins or GPT have failed so far.

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