Bloomberg: Apple May Let iOS Users Set Third-Party Web Browser and Mail Apps as Defaults Over Stock Apps

Apple is considering whether to let iPhone and iPad users set third-party mail and browser apps as defaults instead of the mobile operating system's preference for its own Safari and Mail stock apps. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman:

The technology giant is discussing whether to let users choose third-party web browser and mail applications as their default options on Apple’s mobile devices, replacing the company’s Safari browser and Mail app, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential move comes after criticism that the tech giant gives its in-house apps an unfair advantage and undue prominence on the App Store. As it stands, Apple doesn't allow users to replace pre-installed apps like Safari and Mail with third-party services, opening it up to scrutiny from lawmakers investigating possible antitrust violations.

The report also claims that Apple is considering opening its HomePod speaker to third-party music services like Spotify.

The Cupertino, California-based company also is considering loosening restrictions on third-party music apps, including its top streaming rival Spotify Technology SA, on HomePods, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal company deliberations.

Currently, Spotify and other third-party music services can be streamed from ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ to ‌HomePod‌ using Apple's AirPlay technology, but it's an ungainly alternative solution than just allowing users to stream third-party music services from the speaker directly.

As Gurman notes, opening the ‌HomePod‌ to additional music services could benefit the product's sales. The speaker has lagged behind rivals like the Amazon Echo in functionality since being introduced in 2018 and owns less than 5 percent of the smart-speaker market, according to an estimate last week from Strategy Analytics.

Whether the discussions include opening the ‌HomePod‌'s integrated Bluetooth technology to Bluetooth streaming devices is unknown. Currently, Bluetooth is used during the ‌HomePod‌'s setup process, but is otherwise rendered dormant in the speaker, which means only Apple devices can stream audio to ‌HomePod‌ using the ‌AirPlay‌ protocol.

Related Roundups: HomePod, iOS 14
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

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6 weeks ago


Serious question, is Chrome or Firefox better than Safari on iOS? I feel like Safari is the one and only web browser on iOS that can do everything and is the best already

No they aren’t, but that is Apple’s own doing. Chrome and Firefox are not allowed to implement their own renderers, so instead they are just wrappers around a webkit view (which is Safari’s renderer.) Those apps just exist so that you can use their respective syncing services on an iPad, the web browsing experience is either identical or worse because of limitations of the webview Apple provides.

Apple needs to open up the iPad if they are interested in it becoming the future of computing. This would be a small first step, but a welcome one.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
Serious question, is Chrome or Firefox better than Safari on iOS? I feel like Safari is the one and only web browser on iOS that can do everything and is the best already
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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6 weeks ago
They should also consider letting google map be default too, very insufficient every time I click on a address in contact and ask me to restore apple map.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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6 weeks ago
I get the feeling very long term this might not turn out well for end users. If Apple makes this change then Chrome will grow to dominate even more so than now. The Safari user base will shrink away to nothing. Apple will spend fewer resources developing Safari because of its disappearing user base. More people will move to Chrome. And the cycle will keep repeating until there is only one viable player in the market, Chrome. And in the end that will be bad for users.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago


Yes, exactly! This will in the long run ONLY benefit Google and therefor hurt competition and in the end be a bad thing for the consumer/user.

If Safari is so good it should be able to stand on its merits and Apple should be able to demonstrate its superiority to iPhone iOS users. Why would users choose Chrome if it was worse than Safari? Like any business or product, let the market decide. If few people choose Safari so be it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
I would probably still use Safari.
Mail App I may actually use Gmail as a default.
But it shouldn't stop there. Maps also should be an option.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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