M.G Siegler: "Meta being in talks for 'Apple Intelligence' isn't a huge shock"

Roger Stringer Roger Stringer
June 23, 2024
4 min read

M.G Siegler, in response to the Wall Street Journal article on Apple and Meta discussing an AI partnership:

Has AI frozen the gates of hell?

In its hustle to catch up on AI, Apple has been talking with a longtime rival: Meta.

Facebook’s parent has held discussions with Apple about integrating Meta Platforms’ generative AI model into Apple Intelligence, the recently announced AI system for iPhones and other devices, according to people familiar with the matter.

To me, this has little to do with the "hustle to catch up" and more to do with how Apple has chosen to do AI. That is, using their own models (both on-device and in-cloud) to handle the tasks they believe most of their users will care about and actually use and to outsource the rest – namely, at first, the chatbots. ChatGPT is the most prominent of these, of course. And as such, OpenAI is the first partner Apple has announced. But the company also went out of their way during WWDC to make it clear that they were just the first. Others would be coming.

Google's Gemini, Anthropic's Claude, and Perplexity have been the other models that have been most talked about/rumored to be coming next, but given the rumored "deal" for these services – that is, largely no deal, at least not a monetary one – it shouldn't be surprising to see an option for almost all of the third-party AI offerings to show up here. That includes Meta, despite the history between the two companies. If Apple thought Meta AI was more unsafe or more unreliable than the others, they may not do it, but there's nothing to indicate that right now.

What about from Meta's perspective?

Meta and other companies developing generative AI are hoping to take advantage of Apple’s massive distribution through its iPhones—similar to what Apple offers with its App Store on the iPhone.

Meta clearly wants their own AI products everywhere, and Apple is providing a potentially huge canvas here. Also, this is not to be confused with the Llama models, on top of which Meta's AI is built, of course, but is an open source LLM.


One more thing: is the numbers-pulled-from-thin-air department:

While ChatGPT usage is expected to double with the Apple partnership, OpenAI’s infrastructure costs are expected to grow 30% to 40%, said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management. Munster expects 10% to 20% of Apple users will opt into paying for a premium AI subscription to a product like ChatGPT. That could mean billions of dollars for AI companies that integrate successfully with Apple’s new platform.

Double? I mean, maybe. But who knows. Certainly usage will rise, but double feels like a lot. It also just feels like these are complete and utter guesses. But I do believe rising infrastructure costs may lead to some sort of alteration on the Apple/OpenAI deal, since it's Microsoft infrastructure, of course.

I agree, from Apple's point of view getting into partnerships with as many AI providers as they can takes pressure off of them to have to build it themselves, instead bring users to the providers.

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