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We're getting closer to OpenAI's first device

Tom Carter   

We're getting closer to OpenAI's first device
  • Sam Altman and legendary iPhone designer Jony Ive are reportedly working on a consumer AI device.
  • Now, we might be a step closer to seeing the secretive project become a reality.

Rumors that Sam Altman and Jony Ive are teaming up to build OpenAI's first hardware device have been swirling — and now we might be a step closer to seeing the secretive new project.

The OpenAI boss and legendary iPhone designer have now tapped Apple executive Tang Tan, who led product design of the iPhone and Apple Watch, to build their new AI device, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Tan is reportedly joining LoveFrom, the design firm Ive started after leaving Apple in 2019, and will work on the hardware engineering of the highly-anticipated product, with OpenAI providing the software.

He becomes the latest Apple design guru to leave Cupertino and join Ive at LoveFrom, with Apple executive Shota Aoyagi also recently joining from Ive's former team, according to Bloomberg.

Tan's arrival is the latest development in the long-rumored collaboration between Altman and the iPhone designer. Details remain scarce, but Bloomberg reported that initial concept ideas included a set of devices for the home.

The Information previously reported that Altman and Ive were in discussion over an unspecified AI device, with Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son also reportedly involved in discussions.

Altman has said that any AI hardware product he creates will not look to replace the smartphone, with the OpenAI CEO telling The Wall Street Journal's Tech Live event earlier this year that he had "no interest" in competing with a device as popular as the iPhone.

Despite this, the hype surrounding the ChatGPT-maker and the involvement of Apple veterans Tang and Ive has fuelled speculation that the hypothetical AI device could challenge the iPhone's stranglehold on the consumer tech industry.

Altman has already backed a different AI device built by a team of ex-Apple employees.

The OpenAI boss is a significant investor in Humane, a startup that recently unveiled its "AI pin" — a screenless wearable device with a voice assistant and laser projector powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 AI model.

Humane cofounders Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, the creators of the $699 wearable brooch, have been clear that the intention behind it is to replace the smartphone and limit the amount of time we spend staring at screens.

However, the AI pin has provided false answers and come off as clunky and unwieldy in some demos, and Humane was reportedly caught off guard by Altman's rival venture with Ive.

OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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