Apple’s next “App Store” may target OpenAI

The AI ​​version of the App Store is coming. Yesterday, Ben Reitze, technical director of Melius Research, a Wall Street consulting firm, said in an interview that Apple may launch an "AI version of the App Store" at WWDC in June.
It is reported that consumers can obtain AI services from AI suppliers in this AI App Store.

What will the “AI App Store” be?

Regarding the AI ​​App Store, Reitze first talked about Apple's various "stores": App Store, iTunes Store, etc. The emergence of these stores is the result of Apple persuading relevant suppliers to produce apps or provide music copyrights.
Now, just like Steve Jobs, Apple is negotiating with third-party companies to let them provide their own AI services for Apple's latest AI App Store.
There were reports recently that Apple was negotiating with Google, OpenAI, Anthropic and other companies, but what was said at the time was to "let them provide AI technology for the iPhone", which meant that Apple's AI assistant would use their technology.
Reitze said that Apple will provide its own AI services. The day before yesterday, the Science and Technology Innovation Board Daily also exclusively reported that overseas Apple AI services will be supported by Apple itself.
Therefore, negotiations with companies such as Google are likely to fight for their AI technology for the AI ​​​​App Store, rather than making Apple's AI completely dependent on them. However, due to the special market environment, the National Bank version of iPhone is likely to be completely based on Baidu's model.
This AI App Store may not be as simple as providing AI Apps, because this is what the App Store is already doing, and Apple does not need to separate an independent AI "App Store".
What is more likely is that the AI ​​App Store will be able to provide third-party large language model and API support for Apple's AI assistant, or provide more customized Apple AI.
Technology reporter Mark Gurman also pointed out in a recent report that Apple is likely to open iOS's AI, allowing any developer to build a generative AI system in the iPhone, and Apple's own AI engine will handle more behind-the-scenes tasks.
Many AI services provide paid premium options, so this AI App Store may be a new revenue method for Apple. Although there are currently no more details about the AI ​​App Store, judging from the history of the App Store and iTunes Store, Apple should not only provide a platform, but may also be accompanied by an "Apple tax" behind it.
More importantly, through this AI App Store, Apple can build a unique Apple AI ecosystem and provide users with a unified and diverse AI experience, just like Apple provides a standardized iOS application experience through the App Store.

Challenges facing the AI ​​App Store

AI App Store is not a very "novel" concept. In fact, in January this year, the leading AI company OpenAI released a "GPT Store" that provides various customized versions of ChatGPT, which may be similar to Apple's "AI App Store".
Domestically, Byte has launched the Coze artificial intelligence and agent creation platform, and DingTalk will also launch the AI ​​agent assistant market (AI Agent Store) in April.
However, despite the support of the leading AI company OpenAI, the GPT Store can hardly be called a success. Only 5% of the custom GPTs have 150 to 500 active users, and most of the remaining ones are only used by one or two users every day.
There are several reasons. First of all, the GPT Store itself is not easy to use, with fewer categories, and users cannot use natural language to describe their needs to get the GPT they need. Even if they are found, most GPTs experiences are unsatisfactory.
Moreover, the GPT Store has a weak review mechanism, making it full of GPTs that may cause copyright infringement or offend others.
For developers of GPTs, GPT Store has not tried its best to support them, and it is more of a "free range" state.
In short, GPT Store is a platform that neither users nor developers are willing to use, and the content is not of high quality.
After all, OpenAI is still a "newbie" when it comes to building stores, but Apple has successfully built the App Store and iTunes Store. Therefore, when it comes to the operation of the AI ​​App Store, Apple not only has its own successful experiences that it can learn from, but it can also learn from the failed experiences of others.
Putting aside internal operational issues, the AI ​​​​App Store may face huge external pressure at the beginning of its launch. In addition to the EU's continued pressure, the U.S. Department of Justice recently "joined the fray" and accused Apple of "antitrust." Launching another “App Store” during this time period is likely to face pressure from these regulatory agencies.
Apple has now opened up the EU’s third-party App Store, browser engine and other functions. According to Gurman’s report, Apple AI will also adopt a very open policy. Perhaps not only because Apple itself, as Gurman said, is not interested in developing generative AI. AI’s “not interested” may also be to avoid closer antitrust scrutiny.
We still know very little about Apple’s AI App Store. Apple has not responded to recent negotiations with Google, Baidu and other companies as well as the news of this AI App Store. Perhaps all of this will have to wait until WWDC in June to get an answer.

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