Apple is considering letting users set third-party apps as the iPhone and iPad’s default web browsers and email clients, Bloomberg reports. The company is also reportedly working on allowing third-party music services like Spotify to run directly on its HomePod smart speaker, bypassing the need to stream them from an Apple device over AirPlay. Although the plans are thought to be in their early stages, Bloomberg says that the changes could arrive later this year in iOS 14 and in an update to the HomePod’s firmware.
The news comes as Apple is facing increasing antitrust scrutiny over how it manages its platforms. Last year there were reports that the EU was preparing to launch an antitrust investigation over Spotify’s complaint that Apple unfairly pushes consumers towards its own music streaming service. Meanwhile in the US, Bluetooth tracking company Tile recently complained in a congressional antitrust hearing that Apple unfairly undercuts potential competitors on its platform.
In addition to web browsers and email clients, Bloomberg also reported last year that Apple was preparing to allow its Siri voice assistant to send messages via third-party messaging apps by default; meaning you wouldn’t have to specifically mention them in a voice command. The report also claimed that Apple would later expand this functionality to phone calls.
Apple currently ships around 38 apps with the iPhone and iPad, according to Bloomberg. These can gain a small-yet-significant advantage by being set as the device’s default software installed on hundreds of millions of iOS and iPadOS devices. Apple has previously said that it includes these apps to give its users a “great experience right out of the box” and added that there are “many successful competitors” to its own apps.