He former Apple design chief Jony IveIt would negotiating with Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAIhe design and creation of specific hardware for Artificial Intelligence tasks. According to the Financial Times, both would have gone to Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, to obtain financing for the development of their project, described by several sources as “the iPhone of Artificial Intelligence”, although it is not known for sure if it will finally be a smartphone or other type of device.
Apparently, Sam Altman and Jony Ive have asked Masayoshi Son for around $1 billion, but it is unknown if he will finally get involved in the project. Of course, the negotiations to work towards making it a reality would already be quite advanced. If it happens, Son’s involvement in the project should not be a surprise, given that SoftBank’s Vision fund is always looking for groundbreaking companies and ideas for the future.
Additionally, at this time the fund may have a lot of liquidity following ARM’s IPO. So if the idea Altman and Ive are discussing appeals to Son, he might invest in it. For now, he has already participated in several of the meetings held between Altman and Ive. Apparently, they have been mostly brainstorming, and have taken place at the facilities of Ive’s studio, LoveFrom.
The three have talked about opening a company that would draw on the talent and technology of their three companies. Of course, although the negotiations are serious, no agreement has yet been reached, according to the sources consulted, and it could take several months until the creation of a joint company is formally announced if they are successful. This company would be dedicated to the development of the device, which could integrate the popular ChatGPT.
Ive played a critical role in the creation of the first iPhone, released in 2007, but over time, users’ compulsive behavior with smartphones has become concerning. As he told the Financial Times in 2018, Apple had a moral responsibility to mitigate the unintended consequences of the spread of the smartphone, such as addictive apps, and has said several times that it limits the time it lets its children use devices with screens.
The project that he is considering launching with Altman and Son, therefore, offers the opportunity to create a system of interaction with computers that is different and that depends less on screenssomething that is now more in line with his line of thinking.