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Apple and Google in Talks to Bring Gemini AI to iPhone

Apple and Google are huddling over a potential deal to bring the search king’s Gemini generative AI offerings to the iPhone.

First reported by Bloomberg on Monday, the negotiations aim to allow Apple to license Gemini’s set of AI models to drive new features for the iPhone later this year.

While securing a deal would give Gemini a significant edge with billions of potential users, Bloomberg noted it could also indicate that Apple’s AI efforts are not as advanced as anticipated.

“Apple appears to be behind its competitors in addressing generative AI, and this is partly because the pace of innovation has been so high that the timings of its yearly developer conference in summer and product release in autumn have created a mismatch at the current pace in the AI race,” said Paul Schell, an industry analyst with global technology intelligence firm ABI Research.

However, Apple hasn’t been idle in its AI development. “Behind the scenes, Apple has been busy developing its on-device generative AI capabilities and acquiring companies that will help it advance that technology — most recently with the acquisition of DarwinAI,” Schell told TechNewsWorld.

Part of Overall AI Strategy

“Apple is way behind on AI,” declared Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with the Enderle Group. “That’s kind of amazing since Siri was one of the first digital assistants in the market, but once they launched it, they seemed to lose interest, which is why they are so far behind.”

A deal with Google could align with Apple’s overall AI strategy, suggested William Kerwin, an equity analyst with Morningstar Research Services. “Apple has taken a slow approach to any announcements around generative AI, which we see as its normal strategy,” he said. “Apple has always been a premium follower to markets, never focusing on being first but focusing on putting out superior products.”

Beneficial to Apple and Google

Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, noted that while Apple has been utilizing AI since 1987, developing in-depth generative AI architecture on their own is costly. “Even if Apple had its own Gemini-level model, it probably would not have the infrastructure to serve its massive base of customers,” he explained. “It is highly plausible that Apple could license a base generative AI architecture from another company and build even deeper and more Apple-specific products on that AI engine.”

A Gemini licensing deal could be beneficial to both Apple and Google. “Licensing Gemini would enable Apple to make up considerable lost time in its own lagging AI development efforts,” said Charles King, the principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Rise of On-Device AI

“A lot of the AI models out there now require cloud access, so there’s a lot of concerns about divulging private information,” added Ross Rubin, the principal analyst at Reticle Research. “Google has a flavor of Gemini — Gemini Nano — that may appeal to Apple because it can run locally.”

ABI’s Schell pointed out that Google is ahead with its Gemini family of models, deployed to run entirely on some Pixel phones and certain Samsung Galaxy devices. “By partnering with Google, Apple would offer a relatively mature generative AI model to its customers on some or all of its devices,” he said.

Boon to Apple Users

Apple users could benefit from a Gemini licensing deal by enriching search functionality and promoting interoperability between Apple’s ecosystem and Google services, maintained Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research. “It could potentially reduce development costs and time-to-market for Apple,” he added.

How much revenue Google would get from a licensing deal is unclear. “There may not be any licensing money,” Rubin suggested. “Google pays Apple for the privilege of running search on Apple’s platforms. Maybe Google would be willing to offer their technology for free for the benefit of continuing to update their AI engine.”

Apple and Google did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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