Apple Inc. has closed in on an agreement with OpenAI to use the start-up’s technology on the iPhone, part of a broader push to bring artificial intelligence features to its devices, according to people familiar with the matter.

The two sides have been finalising terms for a pact to use ChatGPT features in Apple’s iOS 18, the next iPhone operating system, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation is private. Apple also has held talks with Alphabet Inc.’s Google about licensing that company’s Gemini chatbot. Those discussions haven’t led to an agreement, but are ongoing. 

An OpenAI accord would let Apple offer a popular chatbot as part of a flurry of new AI features that it’s planning to announce next month. Bloomberg reported in April that the discussions with OpenAI had intensified. Still, there’s no guarantee that an agreement will be announced imminently. 

Representatives for Apple, OpenAI and Google declined to comment. 

Keen to get ahead on the AI highway

Apple plans to make a splash in the artificial intelligence world in June, when it holds its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. As part of the push, the company will run some of its upcoming artificial intelligence features via data centres equipped with its own in-house processors, Bloomberg has reported. 

Last year, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said he personally uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT but added that there were “a number of issues that need to be sorted.” He promised that new AI features would come to Apple’s products on a “very thoughtful basis.”

On Apple’s earnings conference call last week, he argued that Apple would have an edge in AI.

“We believe in the transformative power and promise of AI, and we believe we have advantages that will differentiate us in this new era, including Apple’s unique combination of seamless hardware, software and services integration,” Cook said during the earnings call.

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