In brief: For all of the advancements generative AI has made this year, many people rarely or never use the likes of ChatGPT. But maker OpenAI is reportedly looking to create its first consumer device that offers a more natural and intuitive way of interacting with the technology, and it is working with former Apple designer Sir Jony Ive, along with SoftBank's Masayoshi Son, to launch this "iPhone of artificial intelligence."
According to The Financial Times, which cites three people familiar with the talks, OpenAI boss Sam Altman has been in discussions with Ive about the device. The pair are looking to take inspiration from the way the original iPhone, which Ive helped create, and its touchscreen technology was a catalyst that led to today's mobile internet.
The pair are said to be brainstorming what the design or device might be. An actual phone seems unlikely, despite the "iPhone of AI" quote. One X user suggests it could be a modern reimagining of Google Glass.
Also involved in the project is Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Japanese investment company SoftBank. He's already invested $140 billion into AI startups and is reportedly ready to hand $1 billion of funding to OpenAI and LoveFrom, the company Ive founded when he departed Apple in 2019.
SoftBank famously holds a 90% stake in British chip designer Arm, so it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that Son is pitching a major role for Arm in the device's creation.
Ive has previously spoken out against the compulsive nature of smartphones. In 2108, he said that Apple had a "moral responsibility" to mitigate the addictiveness of technologies such as apps.
Ive reportedly believes the OpenAI project presents an opportunity to create a way of interacting with computers that is less reliant on screens. The Verge notes that Altman is no stranger to this concept thanks to his investment in hardware and software startup Humane, which is developing a screenless wearable AI device designed to replace smartphones.
The details of what the trio have planned are obviously minimal, and there might not even be an end product after all of these discussions, but the talks are said to be "serious." With the smartphone market having just experienced its worst quarterly performance in over a decade, could now be the perfect time to introduce a new device?
Center image: TechCrunch