OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is reportedly working with former Apple designer Sir Jony Ive’s company LoveFrom on a consumer device that aims to be “the iPhone of artificial intelligence.”
Ive, best known for his role in the original iPhone design, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman are in preliminary but serious talks to develop new AI hardware, according to The Information and The Financial Times. Altman wants to create a consumer product using OpenAI’s technology, and sees LoveFrom as the perfect partner to make that vision a reality.
Funding for the project could include $1 billion from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, led by CEO Masayoshi Son, according to the Financial Times. Son plans to take a strategic role with his chip design company, ARM, in which SoftBank has a 90 percent stake. Altman, Ive and Son are allegedly considering forming a company that would combine the talents and technologies of their respective groups.
From touch to voice?
The grand vision is to replicate the disruptive effect of the iPhone by creating a very natural and intuitive user experience through interaction with AI. So far, discussions have reportedly not progressed to the point where a target form factor has been identified. That process could take years.
Unlike previous smartphone designs, the focus is likely to shift away from screen time, which Ive has been critical of in the past. Given Altman’s enthusiasm for the recently unveiled smartphone voice version of ChatGPT, a primarily voice-controlled device would be logical and could meet the demand for a more natural interface.
A successful foray into consumer hardware could strengthen OpenAI’s position in the competitive AI market. Meta, with its XR headsets, and Google, with its Pixel smartphones and Android, each have relevant devices on the market that rely heavily on AI. Apple is also expanding the iPhone’s AI capabilities. All three companies have already released voice assistants for their respective devices