Jony Ive, the former chief design officer at Apple, is reportedly in talks with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to build an artificial intelligence (AI) “hardware device.”
The details come from two sources that spoke with The Information (via The Verge), but it remains unclear what the device will be or what purpose it will serve. According to the reports, Ive and Altman are friends and have discussed what hardware “for the AI age” might look like.
It also remains unclear whether OpenAI or a third-party manufacturer would make the device, assuming Altman and Ive even decide to go through with the plan.
The discussions also reportedly included SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. Son has already invested over $140 billion USD (about $189.2 billion CAD) into AI-related startups and, according to The Verge, previously said he wanted to make SoftBank the “investment company for the AI revolution.” However, it’s unclear if Son will stay involved with the AI hardware plan.
Moreover, The Verge noted that this wouldn’t be the first time an Altman company worked with a former Apple designer. Ive’s first hire at Apple, Thomas Meyerhoffer, designed the retina-scanning Orb used by Altman’s sketchy Worldcoin crypto project.
Altman has also invested heavily into Humane, a startup co-founded by former Apple employees. Humane is working on a wearable AI device that it thinks will replace smartphones, and the startup collaborated with OpenAI to integrate its technology into the device.