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Elon Musk Just Cancelled iPhones

Apple and OpenAI’s partnership is only a few hours old, and Elon Musk is already going to war over it. The owner of Tesla, X, SpaceX, and xAI said he would ban Apple devices at his companies if Apple integrated ChatGPT at the operating system level, which the companies are very much planning to do. Musk, a founder of OpenAI who is now suing the present owners, said ChatGPT integrated iPhones present an “unacceptable security violation.”

“If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies,” said Musk in a tweet on Monday. “And visitors will have to check their Apple devices at the door, where they will be stored in a Faraday cage,” said Musk in a follow-up tweet.

Musk also responded to a tweet from Tim Cook announcing Apple Intelligence by calling the technology “creepy spyware.” Musk later said that “Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI.”

It’s unclear what Musk is suggesting OpenAI is going to do with your data. For years now, Apple has painted itself as a leader in privacy, and the company built several privacy-focused features into its AI offering. For one, you have to approve every single request that goes through ChatGPT, so you’ll know exactly what’s leaving your phone. Secondly, Apple said during its WWDC keynote that your requests and information prompted through ChatGPT will not be stored. At first glance, Apple’s integration of ChatGPT doesn’t seem any different from just using ChatGPT on your phone, at least from a privacy perspective. However, Musk says Apple’s words don’t match its actions.

This is the latest in Elon Musk’s ongoing feud with OpenAI. He created xAI and Grok to oppose the “woke AI chatbots” from companies like OpenAI and Anthropic. Once a founder of OpenAI, Musk is now suing Sam Altman’s startup for not being “open” and seemingly abandoning its non-profit mission. However, screenshots released by OpenAI revealed that Musk was part of email exchanges years ago detailing how the startup would stop open-sourcing its AI models once they became more advanced. Musk also originally wanted OpenAI to join Tesla. Musk said he would drop the lawsuit if OpenAI changed its name to “ClosedAI.”

“Privacy protections are built in when accessing ChatGPT within Siri and Writing Tools—requests are not stored by OpenAI, and users’ IP addresses are obscured,” said OpenAI in a press release on Monday, regarding their privacy practices. “Users can also choose to connect their ChatGPT account, which means their data preferences will apply under ChatGPT’s policies.”

Part of Apple’s attempt to increase privacy is using its own Apple Intelligence, which will partially operate on devices using Apple Silicon. After its big presentation on Monday, Apple also told reporters it would release a paper later today with all the information regarding its private servers, in an attempt to be transparent and allow third-party review.

Actually removing iPhones and Apple devices from all of Musk’s companies would be an extreme and difficult task to accomplish. Musk has thousands of employees working under him across the globe, and asking that each person not carry their phone into work presents obvious issues.

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