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In the fight over whether operating systems should be open or proprietary, Apple has always been in the proprietary corner, with its control over its operating systems.

But facing fierce competition from Android – which has more smart phone sales if not profits — at its annual developers conference on Monday Apple said its upcoming iOS 8 mobile and OS X desktop OSs will open up a little.

As a report from SiliconValley.com notes, the new version of the mobile operating system coming this fall will allow users to change the default keyboard to one created by independent developers. Apple is also opening the sharing feature in iOS to outside developers, so far limited to Facebook and Twitter. Soon users will be able to share any Web address.

And Apple will allow outside developers to create widgets that will run in the notification area of iOS.

Author Troy Wolverton notes that the Mac operating system has been more open to developers than iOS, and called the announcements “a welcome change. For too long Apple has set what felt like arbitrary limits on what users could do with their iPhones and iPads.”

However, remember that Apple still has tight control over OS X. It won’t change all that much for iOS.

Read the full report here.

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