Apple has blocked an email app update from entering the App Store because it includes support for ChatGPT, according to a report.
While the inclusion of AI isn't strictly the issue at hand, Apple says that the email app's use of it could lead it to generate content that isn't suitable for kids. As a result, the app will need to be given a 17+ age rating before it can be released into the app store.
The email app, called BlueMail, currently has a 4+ age rating.
The WSJ reports that Apple's concerns are that the use of ChatGPT is unpredictable and that the developer of the BlueMail app would either need to remove it, change the app's age rating, or build in filters that can deal with whatever the AI spits out.
"BlueMail’s new AI feature uses OpenAI’s latest ChatGPT chatbot to help automate the writing of emails using the contents of prior emails and calendar events," the WSJ report notes. “Your app includes AI-generated content but does not appear to include content filtering at this time,” Apple's App Store review team reportedly told developer Blix via email. However, the company has now appealed the decision and Apple says that it's investigating.
It isn't yet clear whether the decision to block BlueMail's app was a policy-based one, or if one individual App Store reviewer took the decision. If the former, it's possible that Apple is now wrestling with what to do with the ChatGPT technology that has taken the internet by storm in recent weeks.
Apple isn't strictly against machine learning, of course. Everything from Apple's best iPhones to its cheapest laptops has chips built in — the Neural Engine — that are designed to help speed up AI algorithms.
As for BlueMail, the app is now in Apple's hands. But the Android version is already available to download on the Google Play Store.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.