iOS may be about to get a Chrome finish.

According to a report from analyst group Macquarie Equities Research, Google’s Chrome browser could be headed to Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices this year, possibly as early as Q2.

Google’s Android operating system already has a public beta version of the browser available for all devices running Android’s latest version, 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.”

Google is paying Apple $1 billion for allowing Google to be the default search engine in Apple’s Safari browser. Getting Chrome onto the iPhone and iPad could alleviate some of that.

There’s a catch, however. Unlike in Android OS, iOS doesn’t allow users to set a default browser; they must use Safari. In other words, anytime someone clicks a link in a text, email, or app, that link will open in Safari. There’s no way around it.

Die-hard Chrome fans might endure this annoyance, but for the majority of users may not bother with Chrome. Or they might download it, but never use it because there’s no way to set it as the default browser.

Keep an eye on the App Store during the next few months. It’ll be interesting to see how well Chrome does in “the enemy’s” territory.

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