Google is not the only AI company Apple is looking to side with to bring generative AI to its iPhones. The Cupertino giant may also be joining hands with China’s Baidu AI to bring its gen AI features to iPhones in the region since Google services are banned there.

Samsung, which normally uses Google Gemini Nano in its Galaxy S24 phones worldwide also uses Baidu AI to power its phones in China. Baidu is known as “the Google of China” and it appears to be an apt choice as a local player for Apple to run generative AI in China.

The news comes from Chinese media and it reports that Baidu AI will be responsible for iPhone’s AI features in China, but nowhere else, as expected. The said AI features are expected to be unveiled through Apple’s iOS 18 update, reportedly debuting through the company’s next WWDC developer conference soon.

Reports indicate that before finalizing its decision to partner with Baidu, Apple engaged in preliminary talks about this partnership with Alibaba and another anonymous Chinese firm specializing in large-language models (LLMs).

In China, regulatory approval is a prerequisite for launching any LLM to the public, and Baidu’s Ernie Bot stands among the select group of over 40 models that have so far been authorized for release.

Securing this partnership would represent a significant vote of confidence for Baidu and its Ernie Bot within China, with experts predicting it will serve as an exemplary marketing strategy for the tech behemoth. The collaboration has surpassed analysts’ forecasts in terms of the speed with which Baidu has been able to generate revenue from the bot.

Robin Li, Baidu’s CEO, has stated that the company anticipates its AI sector will be a key contributor to revenue this year, expecting a substantial increase in income. The collaboration with Apple is undoubtedly a contributing factor to this optimistic outlook.

Apple is expected to unveil the A18 Pro SoC for iPhone soon which will reportedly bring on-device generative AI capabilities similar to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips. Rumor has it that the A18 Pro will power this year’s iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max while the vanilla iPhone 16 and 16 Plus will stick with the non-Pro A18 chip.