1 min read

Apple’s Potential Strategy with OpenAI

Like others, I'm reading about the alleged Apple and OpenAI deal. Reflecting on Apple's past, particularly a rumored $1 billion deal with Nuance for a perpetual license to self-host and privately fork their speech technology for Siri's iOS launch, a pattern emerges. When Apple needed to quickly catch up, they licensed and integrated advanced technologies. This strategy allowed them to provide a cutting-edge assistant with voice recognition and speech synthesis to iPhone users. Given this history, it wouldn't be surprising if Apple is taking a similar approach with OpenAI to offer cloud based AI offerings. In the lead-up to WWDC announcements, it would be in character for Apple to have negotiated a perpetual license to self-host and fork as much OpenAI software as possible and to potentially license custom models.

6/11/2024 Update: According to The Information my original post seems to be wrong:

The features OpenAI is powering for Apple are running exclusively on Microsoft's Azure cloud, so we aren't sure which of Apple’s AI features will run on Apple’s own "private cloud," which Federighi said would handle tasks requiring bigger Apple AI models than the ones that will reside on Apple devices themselves. Apple is staying mum about which features are going to be processed in those cloud servers, using Apple’s custom chips. 
For OpenAI-powered features, Apple said the startup (and presumably Microsoft) won't have visibility into which Apple customer is making a request and won't be able to keep a record of the query either. So OpenAI may not be able to improve its tech from Apple customers’ queries the way it can from customers of ChatGPT.