Apple has blocked an update to the BlueMail email client that added the ChatGPT chatbot to its software, requiring the developer to first apply content filtering or age restrictions before it can be released.
This is Apple’s policy for apps that produce some form of AI-generated content. Apple App Review (opens in a new tab) department told Blix that because AI can produce content that may not be suitable for younger audiences, one of the two provisions above must be applied before release.
But Ben Volach, co-founder of BlueMail developer Blix Inc., disputed Apple’s decision, arguing that BlueMail already has content filtering and that apps in the App Store with similar AI capabilities are not age-restricted.
BlueMail’s new AI feature integrates OpenAI’s increasingly popular ChatGPT chatbot into the email client, allowing users to automate email writing. It uses previous emails and events in your calendar to ensure content is appropriate.
“Apple makes it very difficult for us to bring innovation to our users,” Volach said. According to the WSJ (opens in a new tab)a spokesperson told them that the Application Review Board is currently investigating Blix’s complaint.
Volach also claims that a test version of the updated version of the app was reviewed every day for a week before Apple rejected it. However, the Android version of the updated app was available on the Google Play Store without age restrictions or content filtering.
He believes that BlueMail unfairly targets Apple and that the age restrictions would affect the app’s distribution to new users.
Apple seems to be more concerned about the risks of artificial intelligence than other big tech companies. Conspicuously absent from the current arms race was Microsoft – a big supporter of OpenAI, which recently deployed its chatbot models. (opens in a new tab) to its search engine, Bing – and to Google, with its new rival chatbot Bard and its allegedly incredibly powerful LamDA AI.
Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before he joins — in an earnings call last month (opens in a new tab)Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that artificial intelligence is our “main focus” — but for now, he seems to be keeping a close eye on AI in iOS apps.
Bing’s new smartphone app with artificial intelligence integration is restricted to 17+ users on iPhone, while the Android version is unrestricted on the Google Play Store. Although a Microsoft spokesperson told the WSJ that this has always been the case, as it can display adult content as a standard web browser.
“We want fairness,” Volach said. “If we have to be over 17, then others have to too.”