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Apple isn’t paying for ChatGPT in iOS 18, even though OpenAI can’t save your data

Published Jun 13th, 2024 6:50AM EDT
ChatGPT will be part of the Apple Intelligence experience in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15.
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple built ChatGPT support into Apple Intelligence, as expected. You’ll be able to access ChatGPT’s GPT-4o model in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 as long as your iPhone, iPad, and Mac can support Apple’s AI. But you’ll have to wait a few more months for the Apple Intelligence beta, as it’s not available in the first iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 betas.

One thing you won’t have to worry about when using ChatGPT is paying for it. Access to GPT-4o comes free of charge, something that Apple confirmed during the WWDC keynote earlier this week. But it turns out that even Apple won’t pay OpenAI for integrating ChatGPT into iOS 18. Instead, the iPhone maker will “pay” OpenAI with something else: New potential customers.

Before WWDC, I said that Apple Intelligence has to be available for free on iPhone at this point in time. It’s too early for Apple to monetize it, though I do see a way for Apple to do it. Once Siri becomes a true AI assistant, Apple might very well charge for it.

Until then, most people will be paying for access to Apple AI by buying a new iPhone 16 this fall. Well, either that or an iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max.

At the time, I also speculated that Apple couldn’t charge for ChatGPT integration in iOS 18:

One thing Apple can’t offer this year is a chatbot of its own. That’s why it’s partnering with OpenAI to add ChatGPT to iOS 18 in some capacity. It’s unclear what the financial terms of such a contract will be. On the one hand, Apple can significantly increase the number of ChatGPT users. On the other hand, OpenAI will have to deal with the extra burden of processing all those requests from the iPhone.

But Apple can’t possibly charge for ChatGPT access in iOS 18 because ChatGPT is already available as a standalone iPhone app.

I said that either party is in a position to ask for money from the other. Apple can bring a massive influx of new users to ChatGPT, considering Apple Intelligence will run on hundreds of millions of devices. On the other hand, OpenAI needs to pay for all the AI processing costs somehow.

If a new Bloomberg report (via MacRumors ) is accurate, Apple will not pay OpenAI any money:

Apple isn’t paying OpenAI as part of the partnership, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deal terms are private. Instead, Apple believes pushing OpenAI’s brand and technology to hundreds of millions of its devices is of equal or greater value than monetary payments, these people said.

The direct result of that is OpenAI potentially selling its ChatGPT Plus subscriptions to more people. This would give iPhone users access to some of OpenAI’s better ChatGPT features, early access to new models, and lift chat limitations.

Siri will pass information to ChatGPT with your permission.
Siri will pass information to ChatGPT with your permission. Image source: Apple Inc.

Apple did say during WWDC that it’ll support ChatGPT accounts, even though access to the chatbot in iOS 18 and other operating systems will not require a login.

Back to the report, Bloomberg says Apple is considering revenue-sharing deals for AI products like ChatGPT. Specifically, Apple is discussing adding Google Gemini to Apple Intelligence, with an agreement to be finalized later this year.

No reason to worry about your data

There’s no question that OpenAI missed out on a huge ChatGPT exclusivity deal for the iPhone, assuming that was an option. But ChatGPT, being the first chatbot available on the iPhone, should still greatly benefit OpenAI.

The deal also confirmed that ChatGPT access on the iPhone happens on Apple’s terms, not OpenAI’s. That’s why I’m not worried that Apple isn’t paying OpenAI money. Apple isn’t selling out the user or their data in the process, as some people might think. It won’t pay OpenAI with our data.

Apple said on stage that access to ChatGPT via Siri on iPhone is optional. Siri will always ask you for permission to send data over to OpenAI. No data will be logged from iOS 18 and other operating systems, and, again, you won’t need a ChatGPT account to use the chatbot.

I will also remind you that ChatGPT account holders, whether Free or Plus, have stronger privacy features at hand than in the early days. You can and should prevent your data from training the AI. This will apply to iPhone-generated ChatGPT access once you use your ChatGPT account in iOS 18.

Apple will likely demand similar protections from any other chatbot provider, whether its Google in Western markets or Baidu and Alibaba in China. Bloomberg mentions the last two as potential options for Apple for the country. Previous reports indicated Baidu would be the chatbot of choice for the Chinese market.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.