iPhone users can now chat with OpenAI’s popular AI chatbot on their devices, thanks to the official ChatGPT app that launched today. The app is free of charge and ads, and supports voice input, but it is only available in the U.S. for now.
The ChatGPT app lets users have conversations with an AI chatbot that can answer questions without requiring a conventional web search, as well as offer guidance, inspiration, education, research, and more. The app could challenge Apple’s own voice assistant, Siri, and Apple’s slow progress in AI. It could also affect Google, as many iPhone users rely on Google as their default search engine in Safari.
The mobile version of ChatGPT syncs the user’s history across devices, so it remembers what the user has searched for before on its web interface. The app also uses Whisper, OpenAI’s open source speech recognition system, to enable voice input.
Users who subscribe to ChatGPT Plus will get access to GPT-4’s features through the app, OpenAI says, as well as early access to new features and faster response times. The subscription service costs $20 per month and was launched in February. It also allows users to access ChatGPT even when it is busy.
The company says it will expand the app to other countries in the next few weeks. It also hints that an Android version is on the way.
OpenAI had been rumored to be working on a mobile app, according to a report by Semafor in February, which the company did not confirm at the time.
The launch of the ChatGPT app comes at a time when big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are exploring AI, and in some cases, integrating AI features into their search engines. Microsoft has a costly partnership with OpenAI to do so. But being able to use ChatGPT directly on mobile without a search engine or browser could change how people use their phones to find and access information.
One of the advantages of OpenAI’s mobile app over search apps’ AI features is that it does not have ads. OpenAI mentions this in its blog post, saying that users can get instant answers “without sifting through ads or multiple results.” This is a subtle dig at its own partner, as Microsoft has already started showing ads in its AI-powered Bing Chat. It also somewhat undermines search engines.
The app’s App Store description also highlights its ad-free nature, along with its ability to sync history and use the latest models from OpenAI.
The app’s release also follows Google’s announcement that it has removed the waitlist from its own AI chatbot, Bard, which it revealed at this month’s Google I/O developer conference was now available in English.
There seems to be some consumer interest in ChatGPT and AI on the iPhone. A recent study by app store intelligence provider data.ai found that the top 10 mobile AI apps had already made over $14 million in consumer spending this year, as of late March, and consumers’ average daily spending was up 11% over February.