Apple is considering opening up its iOS ecosystem to let users select their own default apps for browser and email functions among others, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Apple’s mobile operating system has traditionally been a closed shop with the Safari mobile browser and Mail email app set as default apps when opening up content such as a web link in Messages, but this could soon change.
Anonymous sources have claimed that the Cupertino-based company is contemplating a shift to a more open philosophy, which is generally championed by Android device fans who prize that ecosystem’s flexibility.
The change may have resulted from recent antitrust scrutiny from US lawmakers and watchdogs who have been looking at whether Apple pushes its own services too heavily on iOS.
Back in November, the company was asked why it prevents users from uninstalling Safari entirely and prohibits rival web browsers from running web browsing engines within iOS.
Apple says that its ecosystem is built around privacy, security and functionality and that such measures help it to deliver the best experience to iPhone and iPad owners.
However, the latest report suggests that there may have been a change of stance on the issue in the intervening months.
Bloomberg reported that Apple may now loosen restrictions on default apps including third-party music apps, which means that users would be able to listen to songs on rival platform Spotify on the HomePod speaker.
An Apple spokesperson refused to comment on the speculation at the weekend, but the sources claim that the changes could arrive this year.
Apple is currently focusing on bug fixes with iOS 13, so it is likely that new features such as letting users change web browsers would arrive in iOS 14.
Apple is expected to talk more about its next mobile operating system at the WWDC event this summer.
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