Apple has proposed granting third-party apps greater prominence on iPhones and iPads, as well as unlocking its HomePod smart speaker to competing music services like Spotify following scrutiny over how the company seemingly favors its own products.
Bloomberg (opens in new tab) says the tech giant might let mobile users assign third-party apps as their defaults, countering the automatic preference for Apple’s own Safari and Mail. services Apple hasn’t allowed such changes since it launched the App Store in 2008, making it difficult for outside developers to compete.
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The practice has also raised red flags among lawmakers examining the antitrust practices of technology tycoons.
For example, if you click a website link sent to you through iMessage, it opens in Safari by default even if you have Chrome or FireFox installed on your device. The same goes for email: When you tap on contact's address, you're redirected to the Apple Mail app without choice.
Similar allowances could come to Apple's HomePod, which only supports Apple Music as its native streaming provider. Bloomberg says it might open up to additional third-party music services like Spotify, or even Amazon Music.
Considering HomePod has straggled behind the rival Amazon Echo speakers, greater flexibility might give it the boost its looking for.
Bloomberg says these proposals aren't guaranteed to happen. But should Apple choose to move forward with loosing up restrictions on third-party apps, we could see changes as soon as the iOS 14 software update.