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ChatGPT creator releases iPhone app in step toward broader consumer appeal

The new free app from OpenAI may help the startup fend off competition from other companies that have already released apps based on similar technology.
The iPhone 14 in Cupertino, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2022.
The iPhone 14 in Cupertino, Calif., in 2022.Nic Coury / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

SAN FRANCISCO — The creator of ChatGPT is rolling out an app to bring the artificial intelligence chatbot to smartphones.

OpenAI, the startup that released ChatGPT to wide attention last year, released a free app Thursday for the iOS operating system, which runs on Apple devices including iPhones and iPads.

The move represents the latest push by the company to broaden the consumer appeal of artificial intelligence.

"Since the release of ChatGPT, we've heard from users that they love using ChatGPT on the go," the company said in a blog post.

"With the ChatGPT app for iOS, we're taking another step towards our mission by transforming state-of-the-art research into useful tools that empower people, while continuously making them more accessible," the company added.

OpenAI has gradually been adding other features to ChatGPT. On Friday, the company said it was allowing some customers to test out a version that connects to the real-time internet to answer questions about recent topics and events. Previously, the chatbot had very limited access to events and knowledge after 2021.

Before Thursday's app release, ChatGPT was already available via web browsers, but the app may help OpenAI appeal to consumers who are used to spending time in dedicated apps rather than the open web.

The app may also help OpenAI fend off competition. The Apple app store already has numerous AI chatbots that say they are powered by similar OpenAI technology. OpenAI, founded as a nonprofit in 2015 by several tech billionaires, is privately held and has a close partnership with Microsoft.

The iOS app was immediately available in the United States and will expand to additional countries in the coming weeks, OpenAI said. An app for Android devices was also in the works, the company said.

OpenAI has been at the center of attention as well as criticism for its decision in November to release what was considered the world's most advanced chatbot, a decision that has begun to upend areas of society including education, screenwriting and online search.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman told a Senate committee in testimony Tuesday that the U.S. should require companies to be licensed by the government if they want to develop powerful artificial intelligence systems because of the rapid advancement of a technology with hard-to-measure risks.