Elon Musk
Elon Musk threatens to ban Apple devices at his companies due to privacy concerns with their new AI features. Fans are urging him to create a Tesla or "X Phone" alternative. Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk just ignited a tech war, threatening to ban Apple devices over privacy concerns with their new AI features. Now fans are clamouring for a Tesla or X Phone alternative, raising questions about user trust and a potential new tech player.

Elon Musk threatened Monday to ban Apple devices from his companies' premises if the iPhone maker moves ahead with its planned OpenAI integration.

On Monday at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the company announced a major integration: OpenAI's ChatGPT will join forces with Apple's Siri assistant. Siri, in a showcased demo, suggested the iPhone user explore ChatGPT for additional dinner recipe ideas.

However, it disclosed that these suggestions originated from OpenAI's chatbot and advised users to verify critical information for accuracy. With a history of clashes with OpenAI, Musk slammed Apple's plan as an "unacceptable security violation" due to privacy concerns.

OpenAI Integration Sparks Security Concerns

On his social media platform, X, Musk strongly disapproved of Apple's partnership with OpenAI. He threatened to implement a strict policy at his companies, requiring employees and visitors to "surrender Apple devices at the entrance for storage in Faraday cages" - enclosures that block electromagnetic signals.

"If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies. That is an unacceptable security violation," he continued. Apple announced that Siri will be enhanced with GPT-4o, the newest version of the GPT series, which OpenAI announced last month.

Before Musk's criticism, Apple assured users that, unlike typical ChatGPT use on OpenAI's platform, their private data and queries would remain private – not logged or stored. Apple unveiled a comprehensive suite of AI features under the brand name "Apple Intelligence."

This includes AI-powered tools for summarising documents in Mail and Notes, an image generation AI called "Image Playground," and the integration of ChatGPT with Siri. In a scathing response to Tim Cook's unveiling of Apple Intelligence, Musk labelled the technology as "creepy spyware."

The 52-year-old billionaire criticised Apple's data-handling practices regarding OpenAI, stating they lacked transparency, saying, "Apple has no clue what's actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI." The disagreement voiced by Musk underscores the growing friction between tech innovation and privacy concerns.

On the other hand, the current chief executive officer of Apple, Tim Cook, insists privacy is a cornerstone of Apple Intelligence. Cook outlined five key criteria for the system, and prioritising user privacy is one of them.

This is achieved by processing information directly on devices powered by Apple's new M chips, eliminating the need to upload it to the cloud. However, Elon Musk vehemently rejected this claim in a later post, accusing Apple of misleading its users, stating Apple is "selling you down the river."

Musk expressed scepticism in a post, saying, "It's patently absurd that Apple isn't smart enough to make their own AI, yet is somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAI will protect your security & privacy."

'X Phone': Fans Rally For A Tesla Phone Alternative

Taking to the comments section of his X post, Musk's followers urged him to release his own phone carrying an X or Tesla branding. Conservative filmmaker Robby Starbuck expressed a desire for an alternative phone, tweeting, "Honestly, at this point, we need Tesla or X to come out with a phone powered by Starlink."

Starbuck said he would readily switch and voiced his distrust of Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. "I don't want his [Altman] tech inside my phone, inside my office or near my family," he said. Another user echoed Starbucks' sentiment, urging Musk in a reply to "develop the X Phone" to help users.

Apple's rumoured "IntelliPhones," billed by Bank of America analysts as revolutionary, could shake up the smartphone market. Meanwhile, speculation swirls about whether Elon Musk's companies will enter the smartphone arena.