ChatGPT's highly anticipated new Voice mode has just starred again in new demo that shows off its acting skills – and the video could be a taste of what we can expect from the reported new deal between Apple and OpenAI.

The ChatGPT app already has a Voice mode, but OpenAI showed off a much more impressive version during the launch of its new GPT-4o model in May. Unfortunately, that was then overshadowed by OpenAI's very public spat with Scarlett Johansson over the similarity of ChatGPT's Sky voice to her own in the movie Her. But OpenAI is hyping up the new mode again in the clip below.

The video shows someone writing a story and getting ChatGPT to effectively do improv drama, providing voices for a “majestic lion” and a mouse. Beyond the expressiveness of the voices, what's notable is how easy it is to interrupt the ChatGPT voice for a better conversational flow, and also the lack of latency.     

OpenAI says the new mode will “be rolling out in the coming weeks” and that's a pretty big deal. Not least because, as Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has again reported, Apple is expected to announce a new partnership with OpenAI at WWDC 2024 on June 10.   

Exactly how OpenAI's tech is going to be baked into iOS 18 remains to be seen, but Gurman's report states that Apple will be “infusing its Siri digital assistant with AI”. That means some of its off-device powers could tap into ChatGPT – and if it's anything like OpenAI's new demo, that would be a huge step forward from today's Siri.

Voice assistants finally grow up?

Siri's reported AI overhaul will likely be one of the bigger stories of WWDC 2024. According to Dag Kittlaus, who co-founded and ran Siri before Apple acquired it in 2010, the deal with OpenAI will likely be a “short- to medium-term relationship” while Apple plays catch up. But it's still a major surprise.

It's possible that Siri's AI improvements will be restricted to more minor, on-device functions, with Apple instead using its OpenAI partnership solely for text-based queries. After all, from iOS 15 onwards, Apple switched Siri's audio processing to being on-device by default, which meant you could use it without an internet connection.

But Bloomberg's Gurman claims that Apple has “forged a partnership to integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT into the iPhone’s operating system”. If so, it's possible that one unlikely move could be followed by another, with Siri leaning on ChatGPT for off-device queries and a more conversational flow. It's already been possible to use ChatGPT with Siri for a while now using Apple's Shortcuts.

It wouldn't be the first time that Apple has integrated third-party software into iOS. Back on the original iPhone, Apple made a pre-installed YouTube app which was later removed once Google had made its own version. Gurman's sources noted that by outsourcing an AI chatbot, “Apple can distance itself from the technology itself, including its occasional inaccuracies and hallucinations.”

We're certainly looking forward to seeing how Apple weaves OpenAI's tech into iOS –and potentially Siri – at WWDC 2024.

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