Apple is planning on easing some of the restrictions in place on third-party apps. Specifically, the company is set to release an iOS update that will enhance the compatibility of Siri with third-person messaging applications, per a Bloomberg report.
This is a very important development. While it is possible to use third-party messaging apps like Whatsapp with Siri, they can’t be set as the default option. This means that when a user asks Siri to “send a message,” Siri will open up Apple’s own iMessage app and send the message there.
Apple Responds to Increasing Scrutiny on Default App Practices
Why is this especially important right now? In the wake of an earlier new story by Bloomberg, Apple’s faced increasing scrutiny about how it positions its own apps relative to third-party apps. The report goes on to mention that Apple’s faced government inquiries, too. An anti-trust panel of the US House of Representatives actually demanded an explanation from Apple. The inability of users to change default apps has been the main point of contention.
Meanwhile, other spotty practices, including the listing of their own apps in the App Store have led to legal action from the likes of Spotify. Spotify’s even set up a web page just to list out anti-trust issues related to Apple.
With this much scrutiny of its practices, Apple’s naturally feeling the pressure to ease up a little. What this means for users now is that, after an upcoming update, Siri will default to using the apps that a person’s using most frequently. If you use iMessage all the time, Siri will send a message through iMessage by default. On the other hand, if you use Whatsapp all the time, Siri will send messages over Whatsapp by default. This still means that users can’t set the default app themselves. However, Siri will “default” to the user’s app of choice.
Naturally, Apple wants to stay a step ahead of the controversy. They provided a statement regarding this. This is what they had to say:
“Apple offers our users an experience that is only possible from the integration of hardware, software, and services. From the very first iPhone, we have included apps to provide customers with a great experience right out of the box for making phone calls, playing music, surfing the web, and more. With every generation of iPhone we have advanced the built in capabilities for our customers with a few default apps designed for great performance, long battery life, seamless integration, and industry-leading protections for security and privacy. We have also created the App Store, the safest place to get apps, so customers can choose from millions of apps to find the ones that further enhance their iPhone. In the few categories where Apple also has an app, we have many successful competitors and we’re proud that their success is responsible for almost 2 million U.S. jobs in a thriving multibillion dollar market for developers. Our North Star is always to create the best products for our customers and that is why iPhone has the highest customer satisfaction in the industry.”
What do you think about Apple’s first-party app practices? Let us know in the comments.