Sam Altman and legendary iPhone designer Jony Ive are reportedly working on a consumer AI device. Bloomberg reported that Altman and Ive had hired Apple design chief Tang Tan to design the new product.
According to a Bloomberg report, the head of OpenAI and legendary iPhone designer has now tasked Apple executive Tang Tan, who was responsible for designing the iPhone and Apple Watch products, to build a new AI device.
Tan is reportedly joining LoveFrom, the design firm Ive founded after leaving Apple in 2019, and will work on the hardware engineering of the long-awaited product, with software provided by OpenAI.
He became the next Apple design guru to leave Cupertino and join Ive at LoveFrom. According to Bloomberg, he was recently joined by Apple executive Shota Aoyagi from former band Ive.
Tan’s appearance is the latest development in Altman’s long-awaited collaboration with the iPhone designer. Details remain sparse, but Bloomberg reported that initial conceptual ideas included a suite of devices for the home.
The Information previously reported that Altman and Ive were in discussions about an unspecified AI device, and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son was also reportedly involved in the discussions.
An alternative to a smartphone
Altman has said that any AI hardware product he creates will not replace the smartphone, and OpenAI’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live event earlier this year that he has “no interest” in competing with a device as popular as the iPhone.
Still, the buzz surrounding ChatGPT’s creator and the involvement of Apple veterans Tang and Ive have fueled speculation that the hypothetical AI device could challenge the iPhone’s strangling influence on the consumer technology industry.
Altman has already supported another AI device built by a team of former Apple employees. The head of OpenAI is a significant investor in Humane, a startup that recently unveiled its “AI pin” — a screenless wearable device with a voice assistant and a laser projector powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 AI model.