Apple to pay up to $50 million to license millions of images for AI

Apple to pay up to $50 million to license millions of images for AI


Back in December, we told you that Apple had been talking with media organizations like NBC News, Condé Nast (publisher of Vogue and The New Yorker), and IAC (publisher of People, Better Homes and Gardens, and The Daily Beast) about shelling out $50 million to obtain content from them. Apple reportedly wants to use this content to train a generative AI chatbot. 
We don’t know if any of those deals were actually made, but according to Apple Insider, Apple is planning to spend up to $50 million to license millions of pictures and images from Shutterstock, one of the leaders in providing stock photographs in the U.S. Google, Amazon, and Meta also license photos from Shutterstock for their visual AI capabilities. 
We should learn much more about Apple’s AI initiative on June 10th when WWDC 2024 kicks off. Apple’s  Greg Joswiak, Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, said on social media that the upcoming developer conference will be “Absolutely Incredible.”
Most of the AI talk expected during the Keynote will be about new AI-based features coming to iOS 18 including a possible AI App Store that iPhone users will enter in order to install AI apps. Also expected to get an AI facelift is Apple’s digital assistant Siri which has been an under performer compared to Google Assistant. Apple has said that in order to maintain user privacy, it will try to develop Large Language Models (LLMs) that will use on-device technology.

But iOS 18‘s AI initiative might not include a generative chatbot according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman with Apple using it to improve how iOS 18 and Siri handle certain several tasks for users or, as Gurman says, “assist users in their daily lives,”  For example, Apple has already used Machine Learning to improve things like predictive text.

Apple will probably add a generative AI chatbot down the road which explains why it is looking to license media content and stock images. However, Gurman was probably basing his forecast on Apple’s discussions with Google and Open AI with the thoughts that Apple would make a deal to use one of their chatbots instead of creating one of its own. 

But if those discussions were focused on having those two develop apps for Apple’s rumored AI App Store, that would mean that Apple could still be developing a generative AI chatbot of its own for iOS 18. And that would dovetail with the continuing discussions that Apple is having with media firms like Shutterstock.


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