Apple Joins OpenAI Board as Observer, Gaining AI Future Insights

Apple Joins OpenAI Board as Observer, Gaining AI Future Insights

In a major development revealed last month, Apple will assume an observer role on OpenAI’s board. This collaboration aims to enhance Apple’s AI capabilities and its standing in the technology sector. Phil Schiller, who heads Apple’s App Store and is the former marketing chief, will take on this role later this year.

Phil Schiller will participate in OpenAI’s board meetings, gaining crucial insights into their decision-making processes, though without the authority to vote or influence decisions. This position will allow Apple a closer look at OpenAI’s strategies and innovations.

Competitiveness in AI

This move aligns Apple with Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest backer and primary AI technology supplier, enabling Apple to remain competitive in the swiftly advancing AI field.

However, this alliance could introduce complications due to the long-standing rivalry between Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft might prefer Schiller to be excluded from discussions about future AI projects involving both companies.

Phil Schiller, an Apple Fellow, manages the App Store and oversees product launches. Although he stepped down as head of marketing in 2020, he is still a key figure at Apple. He also holds a director position at the medical technology company Illumina.

Integration of ChatGPT with Apple Devices

During the WWDC 2024 event in June, Apple announced that ChatGPT would be integrated into iPhones, iPads, and Macs as part of its AI feature suite. The forthcoming iOS 18 will introduce enhanced AI capabilities on Apple devices. ChatGPT will manage complex tasks, while on-device AI models will handle simpler tasks.

This partnership is not financially driven. OpenAI gains access to millions of Apple users, and Apple benefits from integrating ChatGPT, potentially offering a paid version of ChatGPT that could generate revenue through App Store fees.

Future AI Collaborations

Apple is also negotiating with other AI developers, including Google, start-up Anthropic, Baidu, and Alibaba Group Holding, to explore further chatbot integrations. The new AI features, branded as “Apple Intelligence,” will first launch in American English, with plans for a global rollout.

OpenAI has faced several controversies, such as the temporary removal of CEO Sam Altman and criticisms regarding AI safety. For Apple, securing an observer role with a high-profile partner like OpenAI is a rare occurrence, underscoring the importance of this alliance.

This observer role for Apple on OpenAI’s board, coupled with the integration of ChatGPT into its devices, marks a significant step in Apple’s AI strategy. This partnership not only enhances AI capabilities on Apple devices but also paves the way for future advancements in artificial intelligence.

Apple Joins OpenAI Board as Observer, Gaining AI Future Insights
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