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OpenAI releases free ChatGPT iPhone app

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence programme (Alamy/PA)
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence programme (Alamy/PA)

ChatGPT sparked the world’s obsession with generative AI when it became available to the public as part of a free preview in December.

Five months later, the viral chatbot is now available on iPhone and iPad in the US through the new OpenAI ChatGPT app. Brits will get the chance to use it on iOS soon as the bot’s creator, OpenAI, is promising to bring it to more countries, along with Android phones, in the future.

If you’re wondering how it works, the experience looks largely the same as it does on the web - you type in your prompts and ChatGPT spits out responses - albeit with some neat extras.

Arguably the most interesting thing that separates the app from the web version is the ability to talk to ChatGPT. OpenAI is using its Whisper speech-recognition system to enable voice input, the company said in a blog post. The chatbot will respond to these queries with text-based answers in the conversational style it is known for.

Regular users will also be happy to learn that their chat history will be carried across devices. While paying users signed up to ChatGPT Plus can use the more powerful GPT-4 bot, and expect faster response times, among other benefits. OpenAI also recently gave subscribers access to plugins and internet browsing features that allow the bot to fetch recent information, and sync with other services like Slack and Expedia.

The app probably won’t win any awards for design as the user interface is largely just a blank canvas for questions and answers - a bit like a plain text version of Apple’s Notes app. Maybe it’s time ChatGPT got a makeover: A talking avatar like a cartoonish Apple Memoji would probably make it more fun to play with.

OpenAI’s new app allows users to ask ChatGPT questions using their voice (OpenAI)
OpenAI’s new app allows users to ask ChatGPT questions using their voice (OpenAI)

As a testament to its popularity, the ChatGPT app rocketed to the top of the iPhone App Store chart within hours of its launch.

Research lab OpenAI is clearly trying to get its bot into the hands of as many people as it can before the competition heats up. Google recently opened up its Bard chatbot to everyone after a brief trial period, and will surface AI-powered answers in its search engine. Mobile app stores are also flooded with fraudulent third-party ChatGPT apps that claim to provide access to the chatbot.

Still, not all of these apps are scams. The GeePeeTee app, for instance, is still among the few tried and trusted ways Brits can currently get the chatbot on their iPhones.