News & Analysis

ChatGPT Arrives on App Store

However, those outside of the US needn’t bother searching for it via their iPhones as for now the launch is limited to that one country only

Here’s good news for the growing legions of fans of ChatGPT, the generative AI chatbot that seems to have pervaded our lives since its launch last November. OpenAI has launched the official iOS app that allows users to access it on the go, replacing several spurious unofficial services that appeared in the interregnum. 

However, those outside of the United States may have to wait as the ChatGPT app, which is free to use and free from ads with voice input capabilities, may take some more time to arrive on the App Store outside of this market. This time, please don’t blame Tim Cook of Apple. It’s just that OpenAI says it’s rolling out the app in a phased manner.

The new ChatGPT app allows users to interact with the AI chatbot in much the same way it does on the desktop variant. What’s worth noting here is that Apple’s own voice assistant, Siri and its own lack of progress on the AI front, haven’t really set the stage on fire with their responses to queries. 

Where does this leave Siri now?

So, with the new release of ChatGPT on iPhones, users could shift over from Siri to this app as their prime mobile help. What’s more, the launch puts Google in a tizzy as the search engine has sat pretty on top of both Safary and the iPhone as the default options for users seeking to find stuff on the web. 

What’s more, using the mobile variant of ChatGPT would allow the app to sync a user’s history across devices. In other words,  the app will know about one’s earlier searches both via the browser and the app and make both available. The app also gets integrated with Whisper, OpenAI’s open source speech recognition system to allow voice input. So, is it bye-bye Siri? 

Could change the world of mobile search 

And in case one has subscribed to the plus services, access would be available to GPT-4’s capabilities through the new app, says OpenAPI in a statement. It would also receive early access to new features and faster response times. The subscription offering, launched in February, costs $20 a month and includes faster access during peak usage times.

The company, which has massive investments from Microsoft, says the rollout of the new app would start in the US immediately and would expand to other countries over the next few weeks. What about an Android version though? The company says such a version could be teased as “coming soon” at a date not far from now. 

Rumors of OpenAI working on a mobile client has been doing the rounds since February though the company had stoutly declined to comment on several news reports around it. The launch comes at a time when several big tech companies such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook are experimenting with AI, with the first two integrating it with their search engines. 

Wonder why Microsoft spent so much on OpenAI?

The ability to access ChatGPT directly on the mobile outside of a search engine or a browser could potentially shake up how users operate their handheld devices during search and connect with the information they seek. Makes one wonder why Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI if it’s not going to turn on the zing for Bing. But, that’s for another time. 

In a blog post, OpenAI makes no bones about speaking about the ads-free nature of its mobile app, pointing out that users can get instant answers without sitting through ads or multiple results. Quite obviously, OpenAI doesn’t think highly of the way current search engines work, though Bing itself uses the generative AI technology these days. 

The announcement comes merely days after Google removed the waitlist off its own AI chatbot Bard. Of course, OpenAI’s latest launch may not be connected in any ways but the fact remains that market research indicates huge demand for AI-based apps on both Play Store and App Store during the first quarter of 2023. 

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