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June 17, 2024
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Apple’s AI ambitions could include Google or OpenAI

Apple’s AI ambitions could include Google or OpenAI

Apple is reportedly in “active negotiations” with Google to bring its Gemini generative AI technology to the iPhone, Bloomberg reports, and has also considered using OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

CEO Tim Cook has already confirmed that Apple is spending “a tremendous amount of time and effort” on artificial intelligence features, and plans to release them to its customers “later this year.” Bloomberg’s report suggests that the AI features built into Apple’s products could eventually be powered by a mix of first- and third-party AI models. Apple’s models could power on-device generative AI with iOS 18, releasing later this year, while cloud-based AI features like text- and image-generation could come via partnerships with the likes of Google.

If a Google deal comes to fruition, Apple wouldn’t be the first company to have tapped the search giant to provide AI features on its phones. Earlier this year Samsung added a series of Galaxy AI-branded features to its Galaxy S24 smartphones, which are powered by Google’s AI technology. Google’s AI also appears prominently on its own Pixel 8 devices. The potential branding or implementation of Google’s AI tech into Apple’s devices is yet to be decided.

The iPhone maker already has a longstanding deal with Google to make Google Search the default on its devices, in an agreement that’s believed to be worth $18 billion annually. But such deals have been increasingly contentious with regulators, with the US Department of Justice accusing Google of using them to unfairly entrench its search engine’s market position.

A potential AI deal between Apple and Google could expand the reach of Google’s AI tools to the over 2 billion iPhones Apple currently has in the market. But Bloomberg notes that it risks being a concession from Apple that its own generative AI technology is lagging behind its competitors. Apple employees have apparently been testing an in-house chatbot called Apple GPT, and the company reportedly has its own large language model codenamed Ajax, but Apple’s AI tech is said to be less advanced than the competition.

It sounds like we might have a while to wait to hear if Apple ends up signing its AI deal with Google, with Bloomberg noting that any such deal is unlikely to be announced before WWDC in June.

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