Image Credits: STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images
ChatGPT goes mobile. Today, OpenAI announced the launch of an official iOS app that allows users to access the popular AI chatbot on the go, months after the App Store was filled with dubious, unofficial services. The new ChatGPT app will be free to use, ad-free and allow voice input, the company says, but will initially be limited to US users at launch.
Like its desktop counterpart, the ChatGPT app allows users to interact with an AI chatbot to ask questions without doing a traditional web search, plus get advice, get inspiration, learn , research and more. Given the issues with Apple’s own voice assistant, Siri, and Apple’s own lack of AI advancements, the new release could push more users to try ChatGPT on their phones as their main mobile helper. The launch could also potentially affect Google, as the search engine now takes advantage of the default search engine in Safari on Apple’s iPhone.
When you use the mobile version of ChatGPT, the app syncs your history across devices – meaning it knows what you’ve previously searched for through the web interface, and makes it accessible to you. The app also integrates with Whisper, OpenAI’s open source speech recognition system, to enable voice input.
ChatGPT Plus subscribers will gain access to GPT-4’s capabilities through the new app, OpenAI says, in addition to early access to new features and faster response times, the company notes in its announcement. The subscription offering launched in February and costs $20 per month for the upgraded features, including access to ChatGPT even during peak hours.
The company says the rollout of the new app will begin today in the US, but will expand to other countries in the “weeks ahead”. An Android version is also being teased as “coming soon”.
OpenAI was rumored to be working on a mobile client, according to an article by Semafor in February, which the company subsequently declined to comment on.
The launch of the ChatGPT app comes as major tech companies including Google, Microsoft and Facebook are experimenting with AI, and in the case of Google and Microsoft are also integrating AI capabilities into their search engines – the latter via an expensive partnership with OpenAI, in fact. But the ability to access ChatGPT directly on mobile outside of a search engine or browser could change the way people use their phones to find information and connect today.
One thing that could be appealing about OpenAI’s mobile app versus search app’s AI integrations is its ad-free nature. OpenAI alludes to this in its blog post, noting that users can get instant answers “without having to sift through ads or multiple results.” The statement is a subtle burn to its own partner, as Bing is already slipping ads into its AI-powered Bing Chat, alongside somewhat dismissive search engines.
Even ChatGPT’s App Store description touts its ad-free nature, as that’s one of the few features it mentions, aside from the ability to sync your history and access OpenAI’s latest models.
The app’s arrival also comes just days after Google lifted the waiting list of its own AI chatbot, Bard, which it announced at this month’s Google I/O developer conference is now available in English.
There seems to be some consumer demand for ChatGPT and AI on the iPhone. Recent research from app store intelligence provider data.ai found that the top 10 mobile AI apps had already generated more than $14 million in consumer spend this year by the end of March, and average daily spend by consumers was up 11% in February.