Jony Ive and OpenAI plan to build 'iPhone of artificial intelligence' | Cult of Mac

Jony Ive and OpenAI plan to build ‘iPhone of artificial intelligence’


Jony Ive left Apple in 2019 and founded design firm LoveFrom.
Jony Ive left Apple in 2019 and founded design firm LoveFrom.
Photo: Vanity Fair/YouTube

Former Apple design chief Jony Ive and OpenAI are trying to raise $1 billion to build the “iPhone of artificial intelligence,” according to a new report.

The article builds on previous media items about Ive brainstorming with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on the project.

Jony Ive and OpenAI seek SoftBank funding for major AI venture

OpenAI and Ive are talking with Japanese financial conglomerate SoftBank about funding the project, according to a report in Financial Times.

The FT article said Altman tapped Ive’s firm LoveFrom, which he founded after leaving Apple in 2019, to work on the device. It would be OpenAI’s first consumer device.

For his part, Ive has been fairly busy since leaving Apple. Recent news has seen him building his design firm, designing a red clown nose for charity and revamping an incredibly expensive record player.

Early brainstorming

People familiar with the discussions so far said Altman and Ive first brainstormed what the device would look like in LoveFrom’s San Francisco studio.

But details about what the device will do and how it will look are scant at best. The report said this:

They hope to create a more natural and intuitive user experience for interacting with AI, in the way that the iPhone’s innovations in touchscreen computing unleashed the mass-market potential of the mobile internet.

The process of identifying a design or device remains at an early stage with many different ideas on the table, they said.

Possibly more than $1 billion in funding

SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son also got involved in the talks. He will offer financial backing. And he pitched involvement by Arm, a chipmaker in which SoftBank holds a 90% stake.

OpenAI, LoveFrom and SoftBank would all contribute talent and technology to the project, sources said.

The report noted, however, that no deal is in place. It could take months to reach a formal announcement — and years to see a piece of hardware.

All three players in the talks declined to comment.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.