Apple could revolutionize Siri with ChatGPT integration in iOS 18

The news: Apple and OpenAI are reportedly near an agreement to incorporate ChatGPT into iOS 18, per Bloomberg—bringing the most substantial update to iPhones in years. Apple’s Siri smart assistant could become the lynchpin for its generative AI (genAI) pivot.

Why it’s worth watching: CEO Tim Cook said AI is an area “where we continue to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort.”

  • Cook said last year that he personally uses ChatGPT but that there were “a number of issues that need to be sorted.” He added that Apple’s approach to AI would be “very thoughtful.”
  • The company has acquired various AI startups. It wants to develop hardware for its own AI data centers and has featured AI potential in its marketing for new MacBooks and iPads.

Apple is expected to make AI announcements during its Worldwide Developers Conference this June.

Siri comes full circle: An AI infusion courtesy of ChatGPT could propel Siri as a flagship AI chatbot.

  • Apple’s Siri voice assistant pioneered smart assistants 14 years ago but has since fallen behind the likes of Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa
  • Apple’s software team spent weeks testing ChatGPT and determined Siri needed a substantial upgrade.

Siri being available on 2.2  billion devices—including iPhones, iPads, Macs, AirPods, and Apple Watches—makes it a natural choice for AI expansion. 

OpenAI’s opportunity for device expansion: Partnering with Apple would give the AI startup unparalleled access to billions of users and make ChatGPT a standard on various mobile and wearable devices.

  • OpenAI demonstrated advanced voice assistant capabilities in its GPT-4o model, which boasts AI capabilities across voice, text, and vision.
  • It is also launching its first ChatGPT desktop app as a Mac OS  exclusive, per TechCrunch.
  • Any AI deal with Apple would drive up OpenAI’s value. The company has already secured the PC market through Microsoft’s Copilot; adding Apple as a partner gives it access to the leading smartphone player.

OpenAI could maintain its lead just as rival Google adds its competing Gemini AI on Samsung and Pixel smartphones

Key takeaway: Running ChatGPT within Siri’s framework will help Apple limit genAI errors and hallucinations while enhancing access to the features of its ecosystem, which fits squarely into its push for user privacy and security. 

First Published on May 13, 2024

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast