Apple is trying to assuage antitrust concerns by proposing third-party apps to new iPhone and iPad owners, creating a new way to avoid these accusations as well as sanctions from governments around the world.
The company faced numerous investigations on monopoly charges in the past year, after app developers such as Spotify and Rakuten accused it of unfairly distinguishing its apps from theirs.
Where it appears that Apple is developing a new feature that may address at least one common concern, by suggesting external applications – applications that are not made by Apple – to iPhone and iPad users when setting up their devices for the first time.
The feature appeared in the new beta version for developers from iOS 14.3, and it seems very clear from the accompanying text that the feature is designed to satisfy countries that adopt a view that is contrary to Apple’s current position.
The code reveals a new menu in the setup process that offers suggestions for the App Store apps, even before the user starts using the device.
The code includes the phrase “In compliance with regional legal requirements, keep showing apps available for download.”
This means that the new section of the setup process will not appear to all users, but only to some countries, depending on local laws.
It is unclear in which regions Apple will enable this new feature, but it is likely to be implemented first in the European Union.
Last year, a lawsuit was filed against Google in Europe for forcing Android users to use its search service and its Chrome web browser, and now the Android devices sold there are suggesting other web browsers to new users.
Japan recently joined the list of countries investigating with Apple over antitrust concerns, and the list of countries now includes the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and South Korea.
Most of the accusations relate to Apple’s prioritization of its apps and not offering the same opportunities to App Store developers.
Big companies like Epic Games and Spotify have accused Apple of being a monopoly over app store guidelines.