Here's why Apple is negotiating with Google on AI partnership

The back of an iPhone 15 Pro, showing its camera system.
(Image credit: Future)

Before the Department of Justice began its legal proceedings against Apple, the biggest surprise of the week was Apple's reported discussions with Google to bring AI to the iPhone.

That led many to ask why a company of Apple's considerable means would look to potentially outsource what could be such a crucial part of iOS 18, but according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, there are multiple reasons for Apple to consider it.

"Apple could probably get Google or someone else to pay it ungodly amounts of money for premium status in the operating system," Gurman explains.

"If it’s Google, the search giant could become the preferred generative AI service on both Apple and Android phones," he adds, suggesting Google has plenty to gain.

Gurman also notes that Apple may not feel strongly enough to develop its own chatbot-style AI, while also knowing customers would like one.

Siri

Siri could get a Chatbot-style overhaul in iOS 18 (Image credit: iMore)

It's not just Google

Gurman also notes that with generative AI being fraught with ethical and legal concerns, Apple could hand over the responsibility for that side of things to a third-party provider, while also having someone else foot the bill for the cloud-based infrastructure that such a service would demand.

A partnership "could help Apple integrate AI more quickly," Gurman says.

"For instance, it could tap local providers in China like Baidu Corp. — rather than deal with regulators and localize its own technology."

We're just a few short months from WWDC 2024, and while it'd certainly be a surprise to see Google make an appearance during the keynote, there are other negotiations that have happened, too.

Gurman says that discussions have been held with OpenAI and Anthropic, too, but that Google and Apple have held "the most active talks". He also says that Apple could scrap the idea of a partnership altogether, but given the industry's current focus on AI "that probably wouldn’t be a popular decision with either consumers or investors."

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Lloyd Coombes
Contributor

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.

Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.

He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.

  • LagaV0
    might be that Apples own LLM is not ready for prime time and they were caught off guard how fast this tech proceeded. Now they need something fast for at least iOS18 until there own stuff is ready. Dropping Apple Car and reassigning these teams to AI might also indicate in this direction, Apple was caught off guard with AI and now it‘s reacting with an ‚All hands on AI deck‘ initiative.
    Reply