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Effects on enterprises of OpenAI's ChatGPT for iOS

The iOS app makes accessibility easier for enterprises already using the desktop version of the generative AI system. It may lead to new applications but also to security concerns.

OpenAI's ChatGPT availability on iOS offers new possibilities and challenges for enterprises.

Microsoft partner OpenAI on May 18 revealed that the ChatGPT app is now free for users of Apple's iOS and will sync across all users' devices. The app uses the AI vendor/research lab's open source speech recognition system, Whisper, and enables voice input. ChatGPT-Plus subscribers will have access to GPT-4 capabilities and access to features and support on iOS.

"It's good to see the accessibility increase," said Will McKeon-White, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Now that it's something you can download to your phone, there's theoretically the capability to integrate more with other applications."

The app also creates new data feeds for the generative AI system, such as emails, McKeon-White noted.

However, the data feeds could help with accuracy but might not reduce the "coherent nonsense" that systems like ChatGPT occasionally produce. Coherent nonsense is when the systems generate answers to queries that sound accurate but are wrong or misleading.

"The model can only be trained so much. And for example, if you ask it to summarize a text thread or find information in an app, without connections, it ultimately won't be able to be any more effective," McKeon-White said.

The good and bad for enterprises

Embodying ChatGPT in app form won't make the system more effective, but more API integrations with GPT could mean that the quality of outputs could improve, McKeon-White said.

For enterprises, the new app will make accessing ChatGPT easier for those already using it on their desktop.

"This will allow added usage and possibly also enable new use cases since they can now have much easier access while away from their desk and office," said Bern Elliot, an analyst at Gartner.

Businesses may use the app in cases when users need to access information faster on their smartphone. Employees could also use pre-set prompts for use the app hands-free in the field, Elliot said.

It's still unclear in the early stages of mass use of ChatGPT and other generative AI chatbots what the immediate applications are for enterprises, especially in the mobile format.

This will allow added usage and possibly also enable new use cases since they can now have much easier access while away from their desk and office.
Bern ElliotAnalyst, Gartner

"The phenomenal adoption of ChatGPT and of [products using the large language models such interactive chatbots are based on] was not well predicted," Elliot said. "There is also a 'try it and see what works' approach. However, like with many early-stage technologies, the actual 'killer apps' are sometimes not initially predicted."

However, the new wider accessibility of ChatGPT on Apple iPhones could prove a problem for enterprises that have banned the generative AI system, McKeon-White said. It could also create security concerns for businesses.

Employees could mistakenly give the system access to corporate information while using it to create responses to emails through their phone, he said.

Ultimately, the ChatGPT app was to be expected from OpenAI.

"Other tools are available for accessing ChatGPT on iPhones, so this is OpenAI taking a part of what they should already be part of," Elliot said. "It is not a surprising development, but it is a good move nonetheless."

The iOS ChatGPT app is only available in the U.S. for now.

Esther Ajao is a news writer covering artificial intelligence software and systems.

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