I'll admit, I'm a fan of iOS. I'm willing to acknowledge that Android has come a long way, but it just doesn't have the same overall look, feel, and simplicity as Apple's mobile operating system. That said, Android has had one capability that Apple has long overlooked: the ability to change the device's default apps. According to a report from Bloomberg's Apple-whisperer, Mark Gurman, that's about to change.
Gurman says Apple is considering a plan that would allow iPhone users to change the default apps for mail and web browsing, and even allow Spotify to stream as the default music player on Apple's HomePod. Personally, I have no problem with Safari, especially on the iPhone. I'm also a fan of Apple Music, though we also use Spotify in my house. But do not get me started on Apple's Mail App.
As much as I want to like Apple's default app for email, there's just no comparison with third-party apps like Spark or AirMail. Even Gmail has more flexibility overall. Sure, you can download and use those other apps, and there are a handful of other browsers available as well, including Chrome, Edge, and Brave. Still, anytime you click on an email address or a link--in a text message, for example--those links open in the default apps.
Apple has long touted its overall ecosystem and the integration of its hardware and software as a benefit, but many people have pushed back against its closed-system approach. Android, on the other hand, has given users and developers far more flexibility over apps and settings. There are arguably benefits to both approaches, and Apple's position has been that its model provides a better experience.
In some ways, the idea that Apple could make this change as early as iOS 14 feels like an acknowledgement that sometimes the very best user experience actually means giving them a little more control over the software on their device. Apple already does that for macOS users, who have long been able to change the default browser on their Macs from Safari to Chrome, or whichever browser they prefer.
Interestingly, one app that wasn't mentioned as up for replacement is Apple Maps. That's not all that surprising considering that Apple has been working hard to build a worthy competitor to Google Maps primarily as a way to create better protection for user privacy. Sure, iOS users can install and use Google's version, but every time you click on an address, it defaults to Apple Maps instead.
Still, if Apple is, in fact, making this change, it's certainly a move in the right direction. By the way, as some Android users have already mentioned, it also happens to be a great move for winning customers from other device makers.
Regardless, it's a valuable lesson for every entrepreneur: At some point it's worth considering whether the strategy you have to serve your customers is actually the best way to serve them. Sometimes it's worth letting go of a little bit of control to give your customers something they've been waiting for.