Apple clarifies iOS default music app feature, and it’s not what people thought

Siri in iOS 14.
Enlarge / Siri in iOS 14.

Samuel Axon

Over the previous few weeks, there have been a number of studies (together with one among our personal) on a function present in current beta releases of iOS 14.5 that appeared to permit customers to alter the default music app on their iPhones. Nonetheless, Apple just clarified to TechCrunch that the function isn’t because it first appeared.

Within the preliminary studies, customers claimed that they have been prompted to pick out a most well-liked music app, reminiscent of Spotify or Apple Music, after they requested Siri to play a track. They then discovered that Siri appeared to honor that selection on future requests.

Additional, they observed that utilizing the same old command of “Hey Siri, play [song name] on Spotify” would trigger Siri to make use of Spotify once more sooner or later after they spoke the identical request sans the “on Spotify” half. (Within the present public model of iOS, customers should say “on Spotify” each single time to play songs in that app as a substitute of Apple Music.)

However Apple informed TechCrunch that this habits isn’t really setting the default participant and that it’s going to not achieve this when iOS 14.5 releases to the general public within the coming weeks, both. Moderately, this habits is a query Siri might periodically ask with a view to intelligently choose apps in your behalf based mostly on the character of the content material you are asking for.

Amongst different issues, which means that Siri may serve you a unique app while you ask for a podcast than it would while you request a pop track. However in any case, it isn’t a default app choice, per se, and Siri may resolve to select an app based mostly on any variety of components past that. Siri can also ask you which of them app to make use of once more periodically to additional make clear or refine its selections.

Customers of the beta did expertise Siri asking a second or third time, however most interpreted that as a bug that brought on the software program to overlook a default setting moderately than an meant habits.

Apple additionally informed TechCrunch that there will probably be no place within the Settings app to set a default music participant, as there may be for e-mail or browser apps since iOS 14 launched late final 12 months.

That change in coverage and performance relating to e-mail and browser apps was a shock from Apple, as the corporate has lengthy insisted that its personal apps be the defaults on its cell working system, a lot to the frustration of customers who wished extra management. It’s unclear whether or not Apple made the change to supply a greater consumer expertise, to undermine present and future antitrust accusations and investigations, or somewhat of each.

But when the purpose was to battle antitrust arguments, any continuous preferential remedy for Apple Music is prickly. Whereas antitrust investigations into the corporate should do with extra than simply music apps, probably the most threatening investigations is the one within the EU instigated by Spotify, which claims that Apple unfairly offers choice to Apple Music in quite a few components of the iOS consumer expertise.

That mentioned, the brand new approach Apple says Siri will deal with music-streaming companies may very well be service-agnostic when it comes to the way it will choose companies to answer consumer requests based mostly on previous consumer habits. However as is the case with many of those AI assistant options, it isn’t prone to be all that clear to customers precisely how Siri will make its judgments.