Apple has blocked an update to email client BlueMail, which added the ChatGPT chatbot to its software, requiring the developer to enter content filtering or age restrictions before it can be released.
This is Apple’s policy for apps that produce any form of AI-generated content. App review from Apple (opens in new tab) division told Blix that since AI could produce content that may be inappropriate for younger audiences, one of the two stipulations above should be applied before release.
However, Ben Volach, co-founder of BlueMail developer Blix Inc., disputed Apple’s ruling, arguing that BlueMail already has content filtering and that other apps on the App Store with similar AI capabilities don’t have age restrictions.
The new AI feature in BlueMail integrates OpenAI’s ever-popular ChatGPT chatbot into the email client, allowing users to automate email writing. It uses previous emails and events on your calendar to make sure the content is appropriate.
“Apple makes it very difficult for us to bring innovation to our users,” said Volach. According to the WSJ (opens in new tab)told a spokesperson that the App 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 being rejected by Apple. However, the Android version of the upgraded app was allowed on the Google Play Store with no age restrictions or content filters imposed.
He believes that BlueMail has been unfairly targeted by Apple and that age restrictions would affect their ability to distribute the app to new users.
Apple seems more concerned about the risks of AI than other big tech companies. It has been conspicuously absent from the current arms race between Microsoft – a major funder of OpenAI that recently inserted its chatbot models (opens in new tab) in its search engine Bing – and Google, with its new rival chatbot Bard and its supposedly incredibly powerful LamDA AI.
It may only be a matter of time before it joins in – in one earnings call last month (opens in new tab)Apple CEO Tim Cook said AI is a “main focus of ours” – but for now it seems to be keeping a close eye on AI on iOS apps.
Bing’s new smartphone app with AI integration is limited to 17+ on the iPhone, while there are no restrictions on the Android version in the Google Play Store. Although a Microsoft spokesperson told the WSJ that has always been the case due to its ability as a default web browser to display adult content.
“We want fairness,” Volach said. “If we have to be 17+, then others have to be too.”