In a major move, tech giant Apple is planning to allow third-party app stores on iPhones and sideloading apps in Europe, according to a Bloomberg report. Currently, iPhone and iPad users can only download apps only from Apple App Store. The report of a significant shift in Apple’s ecosystem comes at a time when the European Union has adopted a new regulation to control the functioning of the “gatekeepers” in the tech industry, the Digital Markets Act.
The DMA is aimed at making big tech companies including Amazon, Google, and Meta make their platforms more open and interoperable, along with ensuring open markets. It also wants Apple to allow sideloading of apps, where users can install software downloaded directly from the web. The Cupertino-based tech giant has always opposed it by calling the ability to sideload software “a cybercriminal’s best friend”. All the “gatekeepers” companies will have to comply with the EU’s DMA by March 6th, 2024.
Apple is also under the regulator’s watch for taking a 30% commission cut of iOS app and service sales. The tech giant’s cut on apps on the App store has been long criticized by many developers and widely used apps like Spotify. As per the Bloomberg report, the company is contemplating whether to allow third-party apps to use their own payment infrastructure. If implemented, users will be able to easily spend cryptocurrency through iPhone and iPad apps.
Apple is reportedly aiming to launch the feature in its iOS 17 software update. This is the second biggest anticipated change in Apple’s ecosystem. In October, the company also announced that it will be changing the primary cable for the upcoming iPhones to a common USB-type C charging cable to comply with another European Union‘s regulations that asks all smartphones to have a common USB-C port from 2024.