Apple reportedly rejected Meta AI partnership due to privacy concerns

Apple and Meta
(Image credit: Apple and Meta)

Contrary to reports, Apple is not currently in talks with Meta over integrating its MetaAI or Llama 3 models into Apple Intelligence. The two companies discussed a partnership in March but apparently, Apple rejected the idea of a deeper integration.

A deal between OpenAI and Apple, announced at WWDC, has resulted in ChatGPT being offered as an extension to Apple Intelligence, rather than a deep integration. This involves sending more complex queries to the chatbot that can't be handled by Apple's own AI.

According to Bloomberg Meta approached Apple in March about a partnership but this never resulted in more than a simple discussion, as Apple doesn’t consider the privacy practices of Meta stringent enough. Part of the OpenAI deal is it can’t train on any data sent by Siri.

Apple Intelligence isn’t expected to launch until the Fall when the iPhone 16 lineup is released, so its possible additional deals will be struck by then. If Meta can convince Apple it can meet the privacy requirements we may even get a version of MetaAI.

What does this all mean for Siri?

Gif animation of new Siri with Apple Intelligence animation.

(Image credit: Apple)

Siri is getting a massive AI upgrade this Fall. It will include the ability to hold natural language conversations and process complex tasks. Most of this will be handled by an on-device model or using Apple's secure cloud.

However, some of the capabilities people have come to expect from AI such as generating images or creating long-form text content will be carried out by other AI models — specifically ChatGPT.

The discussion with Meta over the Facebook maker offering itself up to provide these additional services happened in March. This is around the time rumors were flying that Apple was in discussions with everyone from Google to Baidu.

It was also when the company was likely finalizing the deal to bring ChatGPT as an option for Siri — something confirmed at WWDC.

The integration with ChatGPT isn’t particularly deep. It is essentially a plugin that sits on top of all the Apple Intelligence models, an option to send a prompt after a warning from Siri over data, to ChatGPT and have the result returned by Siri.

Apple's strict privacy requirements pushed OpenAI to agree to not train on any data sent via Siri as a prompt, and to ensure data is quickly disposed of after use.

So where does Meta fit in?

WWDC 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

My suspicion is this "plugin" approach is part of a wider ecosystem Apple is building around AI models and tools; essentially a new app store for AI that will allow you to switch in different tools that meet your needs.

Apple hasn’t ruled out a deal with Google in the future, with Craig Federighi, Apple's senior VP of software hinting that we could see Gemini integration as an alternative at some point next year.

Being able to swap in other models will also help Apple in the enterprise space as it could allow company-assigned phones to send data to Salesforce Einstein instead, or even to a custom chatbot trained exclusively on company data.

Any AI startup, or big tech giant building AI models wanting to strike a deal will likely have to agree to strict Apple rules around privacy protection, ensuring personal information isn’t used to train the model and with the fact Apple will likely strip out key information before it is even sent across.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?