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May 19, 2023

ChatGPT gets an iPhone App

Now you can put OpenAI's silver-tongued chatbot in your pocket

OpenAI's ChatGPT has finally made its way to the Apple App Store with a new mobile app for iOS. Available in the US, the free version of ChatGPT on the app is built on GPT-3.5, while access to the more capable persona powered by GPT-4 requires a $20 monthly subscription to ChatGPT Plus. The app syncs chat history across devices and will expand to other countries soon, with an Android app also on the horizon.

The significant update with the mobile app is the addition of Whisper, OpenAI's speech recognition system, which boasts "human-level robustness and accuracy" in English. This allows users to engage in voice conversations with ChatGPT, providing a different interactive experience. However, the iOS app is limited to devices running iOS 16.1, such as iPhone 8 or newer models.

While it remains uncertain whether the iOS app will maintain the same freewheeling personality as the web version, Apple's strict content moderation policies in the App Store may influence ChatGPT's behavior. Apple's guidelines discourage apps from including defamatory, discriminatory, mean-spirited, or offensive content. OpenAI has not revealed any additional parameters specific to the iOS model but ensures compliance with Apple's requirements.

Apple's content moderation concerns have been evident, as seen with the restrictions placed on generative AI tools due to worries about inappropriate content for children. OpenAI's ChatGPT app is rated for ages 12 and above, in alignment with Apple's guidelines. It's worth noting that ChatGPT on the web already declines to generate problematic content, although satire is allowed.

The delayed release of the ChatGPT iOS app was part of OpenAI's cautious approach to safe AI development, according to spokesperson Kayla Wood. The app's launch opens up a new avenue for user queries, potentially providing valuable conversational data to improve the AI's training algorithms.

While a mobile app may offer location data and new signals, Apple has imposed restrictions on data collection in recent years to protect user privacy. These controls limit ad tracking and access to the ad-tracking identifier, affecting some ad-based business models. OpenAI does not currently run ads against ChatGPT but offers free, premium, and pay-as-you-go models for its services.

Apple has not provided details on content moderation or data-tracking restrictions specific to AI tools like ChatGPT's iOS app. The arrival of ChatGPT on the App Store may impact entrepreneurs who have launched their own chatbot apps. It could also help combat scammers who exploit the popularity of ChatGPT. Sophos recently warned about ChatGPT scams in the Google Play and Apple App Stores, where users unwittingly download fraudulent apps that impose subscription fees. OpenAI's official app may make it easier to avoid low-quality chatbots attempting to mimic its technology.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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