Apple has faced multiple accusations of anti-competitive practices in recent years, and it looks like there’s more to come. This time, a group of developers launched a project called “Open Web AdvocacyWhich challenges Apple to allow other browser engines on iOS.
The group wants developers to be able to access the same features that are available in the iOS version of Safari. At the same time, it asks Apple to unlock iOS for third-party browser engines.
For those unfamiliar, iOS relies on the WebKit engine, which powers not only Safari, but all web content on Apple’s operating system. This is because, unlike macOS, iOS apps are required to use WebKit as the browser’s engine. In other words, every web browser or web app you see on iOS is basically Safari running under another “surface”.
“The group’s motivation is to try to convince Apple that they need to allow other browser engines on iOS, so iOS can be a better platform for developing things for the modern web,” Lawson explained. Because right now, every browser on iOS, whether it’s the Chrome badge, Firefox, or Edge, is really just a Safari branded theme, which lags behind. [other browsers] Because it has no competition to iOS.”
As the group said recordHowever, restricting apps to WebKit has become a problem because developers can’t even access some of the features that Safari has.
For example, full-screen capabilities are limited in third-party browsers, and Apple restricts Apple Pay integration with Safari. At the same time, web-based applications cannot run in full screen mode, and third-party browsers do not offer the option to add a web application to the home screen. Developers also complain about the lack of Web NFC and other APIs in iOS WebKit.
The group’s main idea is to take their concerns to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in order to convince them that Apple needs to change its policies.
Safari has been lagging behind its competitors for a while now, and this has become apparent Users were switching to other web browsers. There is a consensus among developers on that There are a lot of features missing in Safari They are forced to use Apple technologies with more restrictions in their applications.
Apple, of course, has its own reasons to force WebKit adoption on iOS. More than keeping users under the Safari engine, it gives the company more control over the web app experience, which has become popular among platforms blocked by the App Store (such as Xbox Cloud games from Microsoft).
If Apple allows developers to adopt third-party browser engines with access to all iOS APIs, it will end up hurting the App Store business.
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