We may see an Apple and Meta partnership over AI

Apple and Meta are in talks over a possible partnership to enhance Apple’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Apple Intelligence, the iPhone maker’s first step into the world of AI, was announced at WWDC 24, Apple’s annual developer conference. It also announced that to offer expanded AI options to iPhone users, it would be partnering with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT into its devices.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple is now in talks with Meta – the parent company of Facebook and Instagram – to bring the social media giant’s generative AI to its devices alongside OpenAI’s. Meta’s large language model (LLM) Llama 3 was made to compete with ChatGPT’s OpenAI and is a well-regarded generative AI tool.

Speaking at WWDC, senior vice president of Apple Software Craig Federighi said that partnering with multiple AI companies would make sense for Apple because they expect customers to want access to different AI tools for different tasks. “People are going to want to draw on that kind of expertise that might not be part of our core,” he said.

Apple and Meta AI – who’s paying who?

While talks between Meta and Apple are ongoing and no contracts have been signed yet, we can assume that a similar deal will be struck that Apple has made with OpenAI. That is to say, no one will pay anyone for the partnership.

Apple gets to offer its customers top-of-the-industry AI tools, and OpenAI gets to put its name and tools in front of the millions of iPhone users across the world. While there will be a free version offered to Apple’s customers, they will also be able to sign up for an OpenAI subscription to access premium versions of ChatGPT. Apple would then receive a cut of these transactions.

Apple analyst Gene Munster expects ChatGPT usage to double after the launch of the Apple integration, and estimates in The WSJ that approximately 10-20% of Apple customers will sign up to a paid tier of ChatGPT. “Distribution is hard to get,” Munster said. “The beauty of what Apple has built is that you’ve got this engaged distribution at scale.”

Meta is undoubtedly looking to change the balance of the numbers somewhat, hoping that some of those potential OpenAI paid subscribers become Llama 3 paid subscribers instead.

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Ali Rees