2023.09.27 08:20
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Cross-era "AI hardware" is brewing! Report: OpenAI Altman joins forces with former Apple Chief Designer

Sam Altman, the former president of Y Combinator, has been reported to be in contact with Jony Ive, the "father of the iPhone," and SoftBank's CEO, Masayoshi Son. It is speculated that they may be working on a new AI hardware project.

OpenAI is preparing to enter the hardware market. According to sources, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is collaborating with former Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, who is known as the "father of the iPhone," to launch a new AI hardware product. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has also had private discussions with the two, although it is unclear if Son will continue to be involved.

If this collaboration between OpenAI and Jony Ive is successful, it would be a historic alliance between the world's most renowned designer and the CEO of one of the most prominent technology companies.

Ive, one of the key figures at Apple, left the company in 2019 and founded his own design studio called LoveFrom.

The report does not disclose the appearance or purpose of this "AI hardware" product. Sources say that the collaboration aims to create a "new hardware for the AI era." Therefore, market speculation suggests that this new product will be a combination of ARM chips, Apple hardware, and OpenAI software.

At the same time, OpenAI is in talks with investors for potential equity sales, which could result in a valuation of $80-90 billion. This would triple the company's valuation from $29 billion in March this year and make OpenAI one of the highest-valued startups globally, second only to Elon Musk's SpaceX and ByteDance.

Analysts believe that entering the AI hardware market may give OpenAI a competitive advantage in the "AI changing consumer life" race in the coming years. However, history has shown that many large technology companies have failed in their attempts to manufacture popular consumer devices.

Altman has already invested in a consumer hardware startup called Humane and is one of its largest investors. In 2020, Altman co-led a $30 million Series A funding round for Humane, followed by participating in a $100 million Series B funding round in 2021 and a $100 million Series C funding round in 2023.

Humane was founded in 2018 by former Apple design and engineering team members Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno. Chaudhri led the design of the main screen of the iPhone, while Bongiorno helped lead the software development for the iPhone, iPad, and later Mac devices. In July of this year, Humane unveiled their first product, Humane Ai Pin, a wearable device with projection display and AI-driven capabilities.

Ai Pin is described as an "intelligent and connected wearable device that can be attached to clothing and interact with the environment and context through various sensors." It is a standalone device that leverages the power of AI to provide an innovative personal computing experience.

Essentially, Ai Pin aims to perform many functions of a smartphone, but with minimal reliance on gestures and voice commands. With just a gentle touch, this elegantly designed device (intended to be clipped onto the chest pocket) can summarize emails and calendar invitations, provide language translations, and handle phone calls.