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Apple Considers Giving Rival Apps More Prominence In Products

Apple is contemplating giving rival apps more presence on iPads and iPhones while also opening its HomePod speaker to third-party music services after being criticised for giving their own branded products an unfair advantage.

According to people familiar with the matter, the tech giant is discussions about letting users choose third-party web browser and mail applications as their default options on Apple’s mobile devices – replacing Apple’s own in-house Mail app and Safari browser.

Since launching the App Store in 2008, the company has barred users from replacing pre-installed apps, like Safari, with third-party services such as Google Chrome.

The move has made it difficult for some developers to succeed and has raised concerns from lawmakers, probing potential antitrust violations in the tech industry.

(Imaginechina via AP Images)

Safari and the Mail App are two of the most-used apps on the iPhone and iPad. To this day, rival browsers including Google Chrome and Firefox and mail apps like Microsoft Outlook and Gmail have lacked the status in comparison to Apple’s products.

For example, an iPhone user who clicks a web link sent to them will automatically be directed to Apple’s Safari. Similarly, if a user clicks an email address, from a website or a text, they will also be directed to the Mail App, with no option to switch to another email program for primary use.

Apple is also considering loosening restrictions on third-party music apps, including its biggest rival Spotify, on HomePods, revealed the insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The company’s closed system that prohibits users from setting third-party apps as default was put in the spotlight last year during a U.S House of Representatives antitrust panel hearing.

Lawmakers scrutinised the issue surrounding if iPhone owners could make non-Apple apps their default in categories including music, email, web browsers and maps.

Being a default app on the world’s best-selling smartphone is valuable because consumers subtly coaxed into using these highly established software rather than having access to alternatives. The company currently pre-installs 38 default apps on iPads, iPhones alongside the Safari browser, Maps, Messages and Mail.

Keeping users connected to Apple’s services is vital for the company as the growth of smartphone sales decline and the sales of music, video, cloud storage and other subscriptions make up a greater share of Apple’s total revenue.

Apple has declined to comment.

(Imaginechina via AP Images)

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