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Apple eyes Baidu’s Ernie for AI Integration in iOS 18

Apple held talks with China's Baidu AI. It is rumored to integrate Ernie into iOS 18 after whispers suggesting Apple's talks with Google & OpenAI previously.

Apple Baidu

Samsung’s Galaxy AI may have grabbed headlines, but Apple is quietly plotting its own course in the race for artificial intelligence. With the highly anticipated iOS 18 on the horizon, rumors suggest a significant leap forward for iPhone intelligence. Here’s a closer look at what’s brewing.

According to sources from the Wall Street Journal, Apple has engaged in discussions with Baidu, a prominent Chinese tech company, regarding the utilisation of its ErnieBot and other AI models. This strategic move could enable Apple to deliver advanced AI capabilities to its Chinese customer base while navigating regulatory requirements that mandate official approval for AI systems in China.

Recent reports suggest that Apple isn’t playing favourites as the American tech giant seems to be casting a wide net, engaging in talks with Google too, to potentially license its Gemini AI into iOS 18. Additionally, there have been murmurs of Apple exploring integration possibilities with OpenAI’s widely popular ChatGPT model. However, the latest development reveals that Apple is also eyeing an AI alliance in China.

This is because China has its own AI game going on. Popular models like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT are out due to censorship. Instead, the government favors homegrown AI, with Baidu’s ErnieBot being a top player. Apple, wanting to win over Chinese users with advanced AI in iOS 18, is talking to Baidu about using ErnieBot. No deal is final yet, but things might be settled by Apple’s developer conference WWDC 2024 in June, with the announcement of AI-infused iOS 18.

Rumors are swirling about a hybrid on-device/cloud model for AI processing in iPhones. This model suggests that some AI tasks will be handled locally on the devices, while more resource-intensive computations will be offloaded to remote servers powered by partner technologies such as Gemini, ChatGPT, or Ernie.

Although Apple is said to be developing its own in-house generative AI, recent reports indicate the company’s keen interest in bolstering its capabilities through external partnerships. After establishing dominance in mobile chips and cameras over the years, it appears that Apple is now strategically positioning itself to gain an edge in the AI race through strategic collaborations.

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