Apple is in talks to let users set third-party apps as their default choice on the iPhone and iPad, according to Bloomberg. The company is also considering opening HomePod up to third-party music services.
Apple has discussed binning the built-in preference for the Safari and Mail apps, according to people familiar with the matter.
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While users can currently download third-party web browsers from the App Store, they cannot be set as the default choice. This means if someone shares a link with an iPhone user, it will open in Safari even if you hate Safari.
The same rule applies to email, with links to compose a new message always linking straight to Mail.
Apple is also reportedly in talks to add native compatibility for third-party music services to the HomePod. The smart speaker can currently only interact with Apple Music.
If Apple introduces support for third-party services, users will be able to stream music from Spotify or Amazon Music without using AirPlay to source music from another device.
Apple has faced scrutiny in the past year for showing favour to its own apps over third-party developers in the App Store. The iPhone had a hold on over a third of the smartphone market in the UK by the end of 2019, putting smaller developers at the Cupertino-basesd giant’s mercy.
The company actually came under fire with antitrust allegations in 2019 in both the US and the EU.
The latter involved a spat with Spotify, which accused Apple of stifling choice and innovation by taking a 30% cut of all Spotify subscriptions bought through the App Store. Spotify warned that this App Store tax could force the streaming app to raise subscription prices to well above that of Apple Music to make up for the loss, making Apple Music a more compelling deal for new subscribers.
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The new features are expected to be unveiled in June, along with iOS 14 and the next HomePod update, and released along with the iPhone 12 in September. However, final decisions are yet to be made, says Bloomberg.