Apple has always had its own apps set as defaults in cases like the music player and the browser, Apple Music and Safari respectively. But, this might change soon. Reportedly, Apple is considering allowing third party apps to be set as defaults on iOS. Apple is also debating whether to allow third-party music apps on the HomePod speaker, something would mean allowing users to stream music via Spotify, which is one of Apple Music's rivals. No decision has been made by the company as of now.
When a user opens a browser or clicks on a link on an iOS device, it opens Safari even if the user wants to use a different browser. If a user wants to send out a mail or share something through an email, iOS directs the user to Apple's Mail app. This has been the case since 2008 when Apple launched the App Store as noted by Bloomberg. Reportedly, this locked ecosystem has made it difficult for some developers to promote their apps. We previously reported that Apple was recently sued for allegedly suppressing apps by competitors in the App Store.
On macOS, even though you do not have complete freedom, you can still set a default browser to something other than Safari.
Apple seems to have been forced to reconsider its default app strategy after it was criticised for giving unfair advantage to its own apps on iOS. Last year, the company was questioned by the US House of Representatives antitrust panel citing competition problems in digital markets and anti-competitive conduct.
Talking about music streaming services, the Bloomberg report also suggests that Apple is considering allowing music services like Spotify and Pandora to be set as default with Siri. If this happens, users will be able to ask Siri to play a song and it would automatically use the default app to do so, which in this case would not be Apple Music.