Apple blocks ChatGPT-powered iOS app

Updated March 3, 2023 2:40 p.m

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With the growing trend of integrating AI-powered chatbots into software products, concerns are being raised about the potential risks involved.

While some companies are free to launch such products on their own platforms, those using third-party app stores may encounter difficulties.

This Thursday, Apple blocked OpenAI’s ChatGPT integration with an email app called BlueMail and delayed approving an update that introduced an AI-powered feature to its email.

Why did Apple block ChatGPT?

The feature is intended to help users compose emails by dragging text from previous emails to compose new ones, but there are concerns about the possibility of it generating inappropriate content for minors.

Apple has asked BlueMail to revise its rating or implement content filtering in response to concerns about the app’s potential to expose children to inappropriate content.

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BlueMail CEO criticizes Apple’s decision

Ben Volach, CEO and founder of Blix, criticized Apple’s decision, saying it was unfair and discriminatory towards BlueMail.

In an interview with WSJ, he called the request “unfair” and pointed out that there are similar AI-powered apps on the App Store without such limitations.

Apple’s decision to block the BlueMail update has raised questions about the company’s policies regarding AI-powered apps and the potential impact on their availability on the App Store.

The conflict between BlueMail and Apple extends beyond the app’s recent block of ChatGPT integration. In fact, Blix, the developer of BlueMail, has a history of clashes with Apple. Blix was one of the founding members of the Coalition for App Fairness, a group formed to challenge the commission Apple receives from the App Store. In addition, Blix has filed multiple antitrust lawsuits against Apple in the past.

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BlueMail also struggled to gain a foothold in the App Store. In 2019, the app was removed from the storefront for violating data security guidelines. Although the app was reintroduced a few days later, Blix filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging the tech giant was suppressing competition by lowering BlueMail’s ranking in search results and listings.

Apple’s latest block of BlueMail’s ChatGPT integration is just the latest episode in the ongoing conflict between the two companies. It remains to be seen whether Apple will address Blix’s complaints or whether the conflict will escalate further.

Last word

This incident highlights the challenges and potential risks associated with integrating AI-powered chatbots and language models into applications.

While these technologies have the potential to significantly improve user experience and increase efficiency, they must be carefully designed and monitored to ensure they do not generate inappropriate or harmful content.

As companies continue to integrate AI into their products, they must be ready to address these concerns and work closely with regulators and platform providers to ensure compliance with security and content standards.