Updated : January 10, 2023
Until now, citing user’s security concerns, Apple has not allowed sideloading apps from alternative app stores. But this landscape is likely to change soon.
iOS 17 is coming soon with a range of new features and changes. One of the most anticipated new features is permission to third-party app stores. This will allow users to download apps from digital stores apart from the Apple App Store.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is planning to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone with iOS 17. This would be a significant change for the company, which has traditionally only authorized apps to be installed from its App Store. This would also be a major boon for developers and businesses, as they would have more options for distributing their apps.
Third-party app stores could provide a more competitive environment for app developers and more options for users. However, how Apple will implement this change or its consequences still needs to be clarified.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is looking into opening up its camera and NFC stack to developers. The report also states that Apple’s sideloading project has started under Andreas Wendker, the company’s engineering VP, who reports to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of Software Engineering. The project also involves senior executives like Jeff Robbin and Eddie Cue.
Companies will have until 2024 to comply with Europe’s Digital Market Act (DMA), which will come into effect next year. Apple is likely preparing to comply with the new rules that demand big tech must allow alternative app stores on their platforms to give users more choices under the new law.
Apple will have to allow third-party app stores and sideloading, where users can download software from the web. Apple executives have previously said that the ability to sideload software is a cybercriminal’s best friend.
Because the EU is pushing for standardizing charging ports, Apple has already committed to supporting USB-C. The Cupertino-based company could be forced to allow sideloading because of the DMA.
Many companies, such as Spotify, Tinder, and Twitter, have criticised Apple’s fee structure, which could appease them. Developers won’t have to pay a 30% fee to Apple for in-app purchases if Apple opens to other app stores.
In certain markets, such as developers in South Korea and dating app developers in the Netherlands, Apple allows developers to use third-party payment systems. However, everyone still has to pay Apple a hefty fee.
If the DMA forces Apple to allow third-party app stores in the EU, other countries will likely follow suit. Apple’s current work to allow sideloading in iOS 17 could also be extended to other countries.
According to the Bloomberg report, Apple might open other parts of the ecosystem. Other payment companies could integrate their services for tap-to-pay if Apple Pay opens the NFC stack. In February, the EU already criticised Apple by saying that NFC, a standard technology for contactless payment, should be available to all payment providers. Apple’s competitors, such as Stripe and Square, could benefit from this by creating integrated solutions for the iPhone.
The landscape is still foggy, and we will keep updating this blog to help developers and businesses. In case, you want to develop a custom app for your business or have some innovative idea, our iOS app development company is surely your ideal partner.
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