Apple Inc. is well-known for its longstanding policies surrounding third-party apps and services. The word is, with the iOS 14 Update, Apple Inc. is now considering opening the floodgates and allowing third-party apps and services to be installed and replace Apple’s own default apps if the user desires. This would be a big move considering how Apple has not allowed the replacing of its pre-installed software since the App Store had first opened back in 2008.
The Situation Surrounding Apple’s Enclosed App Neighborhood
Depending on who you may ask, Apple is either famous or notorious for how they’ve kept their App Store closed out to third-party services that posed a replacement of any of Apple’s own default programs. For example, when using an iPhone, the Safari browser was your main browser. But if you tried installing Google Chrome on your device, it would not allow you to set it as your default, meaning all links took you straight to Safari instead. These kinds of scenarios can generate an inconvenience for iOS users and placed third-party developers at a disadvantage when it came to iOS support.
This has led the US House of Representatives’ antitrust panel to investigate into Apple to determine whether they have been making active efforts to unfairly block or impede the competition. There are now signs that Apple is attempting to relax its rules, including allowing third-party music services such as Spotify or Pandora to seamlessly stream from an iPhone or iPad to a HomePod Speaker instead of requiring consumers to use AirPlay as an intermediary between the Apple device and the HomePod. Another driving force behind this action is the fact that Apple’s HomePod speakers claim less than 5% of the smart-speaker market, lagging behind Amazon’s own Echo.
Despite how Apple’s exclusive device software and policies have bolstered user dependency on Apple products in the past, the advance of third-party developers seemed inevitable. Now, Apple must make an effort to respond to user’s demand for increased access to other programs. Opening the doors for popular third-party developers might be the ticket to retaining business and drawing more in.
Open Doors Can Invite More Than Just Third-Party Developers
One of the positives of Apple being so exclusive was that it was much harder for an iPhone or iPad to have its security compromised. By allowing third-party developers greater access to Apple devices with their programs, there comes a greater chance of a virus sneaking its way in. But all’s not bad on that front. On February 20, the Verge had reported that Microsoft is already planning to introduce its Defender antivirus software to both Android and iOS devices later this year. While Android devices and Windows computers have fallen prey to viruses for quite some time, recent findings have revealed that Apple’s Mac computers are falling prey to malware more frequently than even Windows.
It’s a sign of changing times. By allowing the contributions of outside parties, Apple can create a more diverse product that can draw more users. This will also provide other parties an opportunity to provide Apple with security measures that it might not otherwise have. But ultimately, all these possibilities can only come true if Apple goes ahead with letting iOS 14 allow these apps.
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