Apple is reportedly in talks with Google to integrate its Gemini AI into the iPhone, Bloomberg reports, a move that should help both companies compete with OpenAI and its (heavily invested) partner Microsoft. While it might seem like an admission that Apple is lagging behind with AI, the partnership makes sense if you think of generative AI models as an evolution of web search, something Google already provides on all Apple devices. According to the report, Gemini could be the cloud-based generative AI engine for Siri and other iPhone apps, while Apple’s models could be woven into the upcoming iOS 18 for on-device AI tasks.

Bloomberg notes that Apple has also had discussions with OpenAI about using its own models, and it could still end up partnering with another AI outfit like Anthropic. Apple may even work with multiple partners until its own generative models are ready. But teaming up with Google makes the most sense, especially since the search giant is already paying Apple millions to bring search to the Safari browser.

Apple needs some generative AI solution it can implement this year (its own Ajax model will likely take years to match Gemini and OpenAI), and Google needs a quick way to bring its AI intelligence to billions of devices.

There are regulatory concerns to consider — the Justice Department is already suing Google over its dominance of search, including how it pays Apple and other companies to use its search engine. But given the specter of Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI — which overnight turned the Bing search engine into an artificial intelligence ad machine and now powers all of Microsoft’s Copilot AI solutions — the potential gains may be worth the risk for Apple and Google.

There are still technical issues that Google has to deal with, too: Gemini has recently come under fire for inaccurately rendering historical imagery. But even given the potential growth issues, the partnership with Apple helps both companies. It also enables Apple to develop its own models while OpenAI and Google tackle the growing problems of generative AI.