Apple to Allow Outside App Stores in Overhaul Spurred by EU Laws

Just saw this [paywall warning] Bloomberg - Are you a robot?

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This could mean huge changes to how we install and pay for apps. I’m not so sure it’s good for security, though. Allowing any publisher to sideload apps could mean a lot of malware getting installed on iPhones.


Or it could be a system like we have had on the Mac for several years. App Store only, App Store and known developers, or ‘I hope you know what you are doing’.

I’ve been expecting this for a while. Apple’s walled garden may have its advantages but lately most of them have benefited (IMO) Apple more than anyone else. Maybe it’s time for some changes.


There’s nothing in the Digital Markets Act (the new EU law) that would prevent Apple from continuing to vet apps for security.

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And there are very good reasons why that should remain the case. Otherwise, you’re allowing apps to not only bypass the App Store but i(Pad)OS itself. Something I’m sure Meta in particular would love to do, given how much they detest App Tracking Transparency.


The Mac market is tiny compared to the iPhone market. Just as the number of users who install apps on their Mac from websites is relatively tiny compared to those who do so from the Mac App Store. Not everyone is up to the ‘I hope you know what you are doing’ standard. And the downside for naive users on their iPhones can be severe, which is why I oppose forcing Apple to allow side-loading on iPhones.

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Completely agreed.

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At this point we don’t know how third party app stores and/or third party payment methods will work. Given Apple’s desire to control everything I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to include standards and perhaps act as a gatekeeper (scan apps for malware, etc.).

There may have been a time in the past when Apple could have avoided this problem by being a bit more flexible and accommodating some of the things that they are now being compelled to do.

True, but I believe adults are responsible for their decisions.

Indeed. I’m surprised charging 30% for ebook and audiobook sales from third parties (when they’re not even hosting the content) has flown for so long. It’s not exactly consumer friendly (or even particularly secure giving the phishing potential) that I have to call up a website on my phone to buy a Kindle ebook.

I understand the need to be careful about payment providers on a phone, but presumably one’s own bank at least would be acceptable.

Apple can easily scan applications installed by third party app stores. Presumably they could also implement sideloading the same way as Android - by default no third party apps/app stores can be installed - it’s a deliberate user choice. I like @WayneG 's suggestion where Apple Store + known developers is a choice. I doubt many people beyond the technically literate have ever installed third party apps on an Android phone, and the same will presumably be true on Apple. Side-loading on Android is most prevalent in countries where the state exercises high degrees of control (including over App Store content).


I hope everyone remembers how personally unconcerned they were about this issue when all the stories about penetrated, compromised, and bricked iPhones start popping up. iPhones are such a tempting target and it has been hard enough for Apple to keep up with the cat and mouse security chase as it is. That chase seems about to get much harder.

You ought to see what Amazon charges authors to sell their ebooks! It’s 65% including hosting or 30% if you pay for the bandwidth and don’t charge more than $9.99. (It seems to be $0.15 per megabyte)

I’m sure large publishers all have sweetheart deals, which is why we don’t hear squawking about those rates!

Apple needs to prevent bypassing because otherwise everyone would have free apps (Apple footing the bill for the store and bandwidth) and charge via a third party service to get a key.

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Seems there more to this too…

Mark Gurman claimed that Apple is also considering removing its requirement for iPhone and iPad web browsers to use WebKit.

I don’t have as many problems with ipadOS Safari as I do with Mac Safari. But it would be nice to have the option of another browser when problems do occur.

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