- OpenAI recently launched its ChatGPT app for iOS
- An app that, thanks to subscriptions, could earn Apple a lot of money (thanks to App Store commissions)
- Apple would then benefit financially from the trend of generative AIs, without having a product on the market
Although Apple is not particularly advanced in generative artificial intelligence, it will generate significant revenue from this technology. For what ? When a developer offers an application with a paid subscription on the App Store, the Cupertino company takes a commission, sometimes nicknamed “the Apple tax”, on the transactions. And precisely, while OpenAI has just launched its ChatGPT application for iOS, the media are starting to take an interest in the revenue that will be generated by the App Store thanks to this AI.
As a reminder, when OpenAI launched ChatGPT, it was only available in web version. But that changed recently, as less than a week ago the company finally launched its mobile app for iPhones in the United States. This is free, but as with the web version, users have the option of using a paid ChatGPT Plus subscription which notably gives access to GPT-4, a more advanced AI. The subscription costs 20 dollars per month in the United States. And if the payment of this subscription is made on iPhone, then Apple takes a commission.
The Apple Commission
At the moment, it is not known how many users there are of this ChatGPT app for iOS. And it’s unclear how many people paid for a ChatGPT Plus subscription from an iPhone. However, our colleagues at Business Insider have made a small calculation: if OpenAI manages to convert 5 million users on iOS into ChatGPT Plus subscribers, it would generate an annual income of 1.2 billion dollars. And if Apple takes a 30% commission, it would allow the Cupertino company to earn $360 million. Obviously, for the moment, all this remains hypothetical. However, everything suggests that the OpenAI application is already very popular on iOS.
According to Business Insider, ChatGPT was the most downloaded free app on the US App Store on Friday. And Apple has also categorized the OpenAI application among the “essential” apps. At the time of this writing, ChatGPT is still Top 3 on the US free iOS apps ranking, and Top 1 on the productivity category. As a reminder, in addition to the features we already know, the mobile version of ChatGPT also includes OpenAI’s Whisper technology, which allows you to use voice commands instead of using text prompts.
Apple, one of the big winners?
In any case, this illustrates the importance of the Apple platform and its monopoly on the distribution of applications on iOS. Although Apple has not yet launched generative AI, it is already benefiting financially from this new trend. Moreover, in addition to ChatGPT, there are already quite a few apps with paid versions that provide similar functionality and are gaining popularity.
Obviously, when ChatGPT launches its Android application, Google will also benefit financially from the popularity of this rival. However, it should be remembered that unlike Apple, which locks down its ecosystem, Google allows Android users to install apps directly, without going through the Play Store. Thus, OpenAI could, for example, offer its application on an alternative app store, or as a direct download (to avoid paying Google’s commissions). In any case, it should be noted that an Android app is in the works. This was revealed by OpenAI in the announcement of the ChatGPT app for iOS.
Otherwise, it should be remembered that this locking of iOS by Apple could soon end in Europe. Indeed, the EU is about to enforce a series of new rules that threaten Apple’s closed system.