Google Chrome logoGoogle's much lauded Chrome Web browser is reportedly set to invade Apple's biggest stronghold: the iPhone and iPad. According to analyst group Macquarie Equities Research, Google is preparing to declare an all-out browser war by bringing a mobile version of Chrome to Apple's devices later this year, possibly as soon as Q2.

The significance of such a move will help lighten Google's payload to Apple — Apple reportedly made $1 billion off the search giant just by having Google as the default search engine in Safari — but only if iOS users adopt a mobile version of Chrome, already available for Android devices, in a meaningful way.

Although Apple allows competing browsers in the app store, the company doesn't give any of them the ability to be set as the default browser. That means all links in emails, texts or apps will always open in Safari. That's an enormous usability obstacle to overcome. Sure, Chrome lovers won't mind the inconvenience, but the average user will likely find it infuriating.

Google has managed to capture nearly 26 percent of the desktop browser market, according to W3Counter. The mobile market is a whole different ball game, especially when you're the away team. It'll be interesting to see what kind of reception Chrome for iOS does get if it does indeed show up in the App Store in the next few months.

[via GigaOm]