Apple has blocked an update to email client BlueMail that included the ChatGPT chatbot in its software, requiring the developer to first insert content filters or age restrictions before it can be released.
This is Apple’s policy for apps that produce any form of AI-generated content. Apple’s app review (opens in new tab) informed Blix that one of the above two provisions must be applied prior to release, as AI could produce content that may be unsuitable for younger audiences.
However, Ben Volach, co-founder of BlueMail developer Blix Inc., disputed Apple’s decision, arguing that BlueMail already has content filtering in place and that other apps on the App Store with similar AI capabilities do not have age restrictions.
The new AI feature in BlueMail integrates OpenAI’s ever-popular chatbot ChatGPT into the email client, allowing users to automate the process of writing emails. It uses previous emails and events on your calendar to ensure the content is appropriate.
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“Apple makes it really difficult for us to innovate for our users,” Volach said. According to the WSJ (opens in new tab)a spokesperson told them that the App Review Board is currently investigating Blix’s complaint.
Volach also claims that a trial of the updated version of the app was checked every day for a week before being rejected by Apple. However, the Android version of the updated app has been allowed on the Google Play Store without age restrictions or content filtering.
He believes BlueMail is being 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 appeared conspicuously absent from the current arms race between Microsoft – a big supporter of OpenAI, which recently injected its chatbot mockups (opens in new tab) into its search engine Bing – and Google with its new rival chatbot Bard and its allegedly incredibly powerful LamDA AI.
It may only be a matter of time before she gets involved — in one Earnings call last month (opens in new tab)Apple CEO Tim Cook said that AI is a “key focus of ours” — but for now it seems to be keeping a close eye on AI in iOS apps.
Bing’s new smartphone app with AI integration is limited to 17+ on iPhone, while there are no restrictions on the Android version on the Google Play Store. Although a Microsoft spokesman told the WSJ that it has always been the case, given its ability as the default web browser to display adult content.
“We want fairness,” said Volach. “If we have to be over 17, then others have to be too.”
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