Apple considers opening its ‘walled garden’ for third party apps
Apple may plan to open up its ecosystem a little more, allowing users to replace its standard apps and services with others, if they so prefer.
Getting out of the garden
The news seems to be that Apple is considering letting people replace stock apps such as Mail or Safari with third-party alternatives.
This is already possible, of course, but what’s different here is that it is also looking to allow users to define the apps as the default software for such tasks – so you wouldn’t automatically open a link in Safari if you chose to use a different default web browser.
Apple currently installs 38 apps by default on its devices.
Going further, it seems Apple is also considering letting third party services thrive and survive on its hardware, including letting HomePod users set Spotify up as their default music player. This might even extend to letting Siri handle Spotify requests.
This follows an increase in regulatory activity around Apple’s walled garden, most recently evidenced by EU investigation on behalf of Spotify.
Pros and cons
In a sense this might be a good thing, particularly for Mail which desperately needs to become more sophisticated – however, there are advantages to the tight integration between apps and hardware on the company’s platforms, and any such move would likely place pressure on development teams to ensure good user experiences.
Final decisions on these proposals haven’t been made, but we may hear more at WWDC in June.