Apple's Big AI News at WWDC Includes an OpenAI Partnership, Report Says

We're expecting to hear a lot about AI and iOS 18 next week, and ChatGPT seems to be a part of that.

Lisa Lacy Lead AI Writer
Lisa joined CNET after more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. Career highlights include a 2020 story about problematic brand mascots, which preceded historic name changes, and going viral in 2021 after daring to ask, "Why are cans of cranberry sauce labeled upside-down?" She has interviewed celebrities like Serena Williams, Brian Cox and Tracee Ellis Ross. Anna Kendrick said her name sounds like a character from Beverly Hills, 90210. Rick Astley asked if she knew what Rickrolling was. She lives outside Atlanta with her son, two golden retrievers and two cats.
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Lisa Lacy
2 min read
Apple's developer conference WWDC
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We may finally know what CEO Tim Cook was alluding to when he teased Apple's AI plans during a quarterly earnings call in February, saying only that the company saw "a huge opportunity."

Reports from Bloomberg and others are circulating that the company will announce a partnership with AI darling OpenAI to use ChatGPT in Apple's next operating system, iOS 18, at its annual developer conference, WWDC, on Monday.

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Apple did not respond to a request for comment from CNET. OpenAI declined to comment. 

Bloomberg earlier was first to report that the two companies were working toward an agreement, citing people familiar with the matter. The deal reportedly closed in May.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is also in talks with Google about licensing its Gemini chatbot and may ultimately offer a range of third-party chatbots. Google declined to comment.

ChatGPT, Gemini and other such tools do what they do through generative AI, in which large language models provide a trove of data from which a chatbot formulates humanlike responses to prompts. Apple's iPhones already use other forms of AI, as do many other tech products and services.

It's a surprising turn of events for the tech giant behind the original chatbot, Siri, which debuted with the iPhone 4S in 2011. That was a good three years before Amazon brought Alexa to life — and more than a decade before OpenAI introduced ChatGPT. Now, as Apple fans hope WWDC 2024 will mark the beginning of a comeback for Siri, we may also want to ask about a comeback for Apple itself.

With 2.2 billion active devices, Apple has a sizable built-in audience — and plenty of motivation to keep those users in its ecosystem. Nearly a year ago, there was buzz that Apple was working on its own AI chatbot, called Apple GPT, along with a large language model, Ajax, but the company did not comment at the time.

"Our M.O., if you will, has always been to do work and then talk about work, and not to get out in front of ourselves," Cook said of generative AI in the February call.

It's a strategy that worked well with the iPhone and iPad, which went on to dominate their respective product categories, but Apple's hesitancy to enter the generative AI frenzy that has otherwise consumed Big Tech may have proven unwise.

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