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Your iPhone could start suggesting third-party apps during set-up

Apple may begin recommending third-party apps from the App Store before your smartphone is even fully set-up. The feature has appeared after Apple has been the target of multiple antitrust complaints. 

According to a report by 9to5Mac, there is “clear evidence” of a new menu in the system set-up process that presents App Store recommendations to the user. The feature was spotted in the beta code for iOS 14.3.

Perhaps most interestingly, this additional step in the set-up process appears to be locked to specific locations.

“In compliance with regional legal requirements, continue to view available apps to download”, states the beta code (via 9to5Mac).

Read our review of the iPhone 12

Apple has yet to confirm the existence of the new menu or which regions will see it but it’s possible the feature will be introduced in response to accusations that the Cupertino company has broken anti-competitive rules.

Back in 2019, an investigation by the Wall Street Journal found that Apple’s own apps dominated more than 60% of basic searches, often beating out better reviewed apps from competitors such as Google.

The report also found that Apple’s subscription-based apps, such as Music and Books, appeared in 95% of searches relating to those subjects.

Apple has also faced similar allegations from Spotify. Last year, the music streaming service filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU, accusing the company of purposefully limiting choice and stifling innovation at the expense of user experience.

CEO Daniel EK announced the complaint in a blog post, explaining that Apple’s 30% “tax” forces Spotify to inflate the price of its Premium membership above that of Apple Music, thus making it more difficult for Spotify to remain competitive.

Read our review of the iPhone 12 Pro 

Apple has since faced anti-competition allegations in a number of countries, including Japan, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia and South Korea.

The iOS 14.3 beta recently became available to developers, so we’ll have to wait until the software is released to the public to find out whether this feature sticks.

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