Home Internet Apple Wants to Keep Dominating the Internet in the AI Era

Apple Wants to Keep Dominating the Internet in the AI Era

Tim Cook is expected to announce that Apple has partnered with OpenAI at WWDC.
Hardik Chhabra, Nathan Posner; Getty Images

  • For years, an Apple-Google deal has dominated America’s internet.
  • Apple is about to announce a new arrangement that could do the same for the AI era.
  • Tim Cook is expected to announce a partnership with OpenAI at WWDC to bring ChatGPT to iPhones.

When Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone in 2007, it was a landmark moment in Apple’s history that involved the CEO of another Silicon Valley company: Google.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s then-leader, joined Jobs onstage as a symbol of the growing bond between their companies. Two years earlier, in 2005, Apple and Google struck a deal to make Mountain View’s search engine the default on the Mac’s Safari browser.

With the iPhone, Google was about to be placed front and center as the core search tool on the pocketable device Apple was betting its future on. It’s a tie-up that has, arguably, determined who dominates America’s internet ever since.

As iPhones have grown in popularity across the US — Apple smartphones have had a market share of more than 50% since 2022 — Google’s reach has spread too, giving an already dominant search engine more exposure.

Though the deal is now at the heart of a US government lawsuit filed against Google in 2020, it’s proven to be a powerful means of shaping the internet experience of Americans, and highly lucrative for Apple: Google paid $20 billion to maintain the deal in 2022.

Now, Apple is preparing to unveil its plans to dominate the internet again — with the help of another Silicon Valley company.

Apple’s plan to dominate the internet, again

On Monday, when CEO Tim Cook kicks off Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), he’s expected to reveal a new vision of artificial intelligence by announcing a partnership with OpenAI.

According to a report on Wednesday from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is all but set to announce that the ChatGPT maker’s technology will be integrated into the iPhone operating system.

For Apple, the partnership would present a bold attempt to bring generative AI features to its devices after months of questions from investors, developers and others about its plans to get in on Silicon Valley’s most talked-about technology.

Though Apple typically keeps its plans top secret, there had been a growing sense the company was falling behind on AI. Rivals like Google and Meta were charging ahead with their own AI models, while Microsoft partnered with OpenAI as early as January 2023.

But by bringing an incumbent AI player like the ChatGPT maker into its mix, Apple will hope that it can shape a new internet experience for iPhone users in the AI era.

Apple’s iPhone 15 range.
Apple

In a research note, Wedbush analysts including Dan Ives wrote that the WWDC could be “the most important event for Apple in over a decade as the pressure to bring a generative AI stack of technology for developers and consumers” grows.

For OpenAI, the deal would give it a ticket to one of the most powerful distribution systems in the world: more than a billion active iPhones.

Time will tell if the deal is as powerful as Apple’s search engine agreement with Google. While OpenAI has emerged as the face of the generative AI boom thanks to the early-mover advantage gained from ChatGPT’s release, it’s also been mired in controversy.

No done deal

Its AI has been criticized for making critical errors and being prone to hallucinations, bringing its reliability into question. The company itself has also been the subject of controversy as its CEO, Sam Altman, has come under fire from current and former employees over safety pledges.

It’s worth noting that neither company has yet officially confirmed the deal. Apple had previously been reported to have been in discussions with Google over an AI partnership, but OpenAI appears to have earned its favor.

One thing is certain: Apple’s about to pitch the world on its plans to dominate the internet in the AI age.

 

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