OpenAI on Thursday launched an iOS app of its own ChatGPT in the US. The company promises that an Android version will be available “soon” and plans to provide global access in the coming weeks.

Those who previously searched for “ChatGPT” in the App Store were sure to see some apps. However, each time these were third-party variants that promised access to the advanced chatbot. Some of these were examples of fleeceware: scam vendors were selling fake ChatGPT subscriptions, for example.

Earnings model

The ChatGPT app adds one important functionality compared to the web application: speech-to-text. By using this feature, users should be able to “talk” to the chatbot in an even more natural way. OpenAI’s speech recognition tech, Whisper, is said to provide a high degree of accuracy. The company offers ChatGPT for free and records conversations across devices.

OpenAI’s revenue model appears to remain the same with the move to an app offering: those who want unlimited conversations with the very best GPT-4 model can take out a $20 monthly subscription. The app itself has no ads, unlike Microsoft’s Bing Chat, also supported by OpenAI tech.

The move to an app variant is not too unexpected. OpenAI will not have been fond of the potential reputational damage caused by the fake ChatGPT apps. Besides, apps on cell phones are overwhelmingly preferred among users over a web version, especially among younger generations. Not too surprising, then, that OpenAI opted for this course of action.

Watchdogs

The development of AI chatbots has spurred many a political body into action. The Italian privacy watchdog, for example, blocked access to ChatGPT and only lifted the ban after OpenAI complied with a number of privacy law requirements.

The watchdogs OpenAI has had to take into account in developing the app are not only political in nature. In March, for example, Apple itself reportedly had reservations about an app update from another party. This was because the newly added generative AI functionality could create harmful content for children on the app in question. ChatGPT, however, has a 12+ label on the U.S. App Store.