You are currently viewing Apple plots AI team-up with its arch-enemy Meta

Apple plots AI team-up with its arch-enemy Meta

Apple is late to the AI party, and when it finally announced its own Apple Intelligence offering earlier this month, the company tacitly acknowledged this with the news that it plans to partner with more established players in the market. Apple has built its own AI model, but it plans to outsource specialist or advanced tasks to others’ models.

Initially, that will mean OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which Apple regards as the leading light of generative AI and “the best choice for our users today,” according to Craig Federighi. But the company made it clear that other names will be drafted in too. And this has resulted in some surprising potential partnerships, such as a team-up with Facebook’s parent company Meta.

According to a Wall Street Journal story published this weekend, citing “people familiar with the matter,” Apple and Meta have indeed discussed an AI partnership. This hasn’t been finalized and may yet fall through, the WSJ notes, but the signs are promising: Apple would like Meta’s expertise, and Meta would love to gain access to Apple’s enormous user base.

Such an arrangement would involve Meta Platforms’ generative AI model being integrated into Apple Intelligence on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, although it appears that users will be asked for their consent before Apple Intelligence’s various third-party AI models are brought into play. As well as Meta AI and ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini and Microsoft’s Copilot are expected to be brought into the fold at some point.

As unlikely as a Google/Apple partnership may sound, a deal with Meta is even more surprising given the acrimonious relationship between the companies, usually centering on their differing approaches (to put it mildly) to user privacy. After Apple enabled iPhone owners to block advertiser tracking, Facebook responded with full-page ads in the US press complaining about the changes and claiming they would “hurt many of our developers and publishers at an already difficult time for businesses.” But this wasn’t a one-off dispute; the firms’ philosophies are so radically different that they have been throwing jabs at one another for more than a decade, as CNBC explains.

Such disputes are unlikely to end just because of a potential AI team-up; tech firms are remarkably good at arguing bitterly with a rival while simultaneously partnering in ways that benefit both. (Apple and Samsung continued to work together while their famous patent disputes went through the legal system.) What will be interesting is how the partnership works in terms of privacy and data collection, with neither keen to compromise on its operating principles. Apple owns the platform, so will probably get the last word.

Apple Intelligence will arrrive this fall as part of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15.