According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, iOS 17 will reportedly open up the iPhone to sideloading.
Apple Inc. is preparing to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads, as part of a major overhaul aimed at meeting stringent European Union requirements by 2024.
Software engineering and services employees are in a major effort to unlock key elements of Apple’s platforms, according to people familiar with the effort. As part of the changes, customers could eventually download third-party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the company’s App Store, bypassing Apple’s restrictions and the up to 30% commission it imposes on payments.
These steps, a reversal of long-standing policies, are in response to EU laws aimed at leveling the playing field for third-party developers and improving consumers’ digital lives. For years, regulators and software makers have complained that Apple and Google, which run the two largest mobile app stores, exert too much power as gatekeepers.”
iOS 17 enables sideloading apps on iPhone
If similar laws are passed in more countries, Apple’s project could lay the groundwork for other regions, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the work is private. But the company’s changes are primarily intended to come into effect.” Europe.
Still, the news boosted shares of companies that offer dating services and other apps. Match Group Inc. rose as much as 10% and Bumble Inc. rose as much as 8.6%, a sign that investors think the companies can get a break from Apple’s commissions. Spotify Technology SA, the audio streaming service, rose as much as 9.7%. Apple shares, meanwhile, were little changed.
A spokesperson for the Cupertino, California-based company declined to comment on the upcoming changes.
The most important new European law, called the Digital Markets Act, will come into force in the coming months, but companies do not have to comply with all the rules until 2024. Government officials in the US and other countries have pushed for similar laws, but have not done so. The EU has not yet been reached.
The law requires tech companies to allow the installation of third-party apps and make it easier for users to change default settings. The rules require messaging services to work together and give third-party developers equal access to core features within apps and services.
The laws apply to technology companies with a market value of at least €75 billion ($80 billion) and at least 45 million monthly users within the EU.
The changes underway within Apple are being led by longtime vice president of software engineering Andreas Wendker, who reports to Craig Federighi, the company’s top software executive. Jeff Robbin, Apple’s chief engineering manager for its services, reporting to head of services Eddy Cue, is also involved.
Apple dedicates a significant amount of resources to the enterprise-wide endeavor. It hasn’t been a popular initiative within Apple, given that for years the company has rejected the need for “sideloading,” the process of installing software without using the official App Store. In lobbying against the new European laws, Apple has argued that sideloading could put unsafe apps on consumers’ devices and undermine privacy.
Some engineers working on the plan also see it as a distraction from the typical day-to-day development of future features, according to the people. The company aims to have the changes ready as part of an iOS 17 update next year, which would be compliant with requirements.
Apple generated about $95 billion in revenue from Europe, which includes the EU and Britain, in the 2022 fiscal year. That revenue base will likely take a hit as it implements the changes poised to make the App Store less lucrative.
Overall, however, Apple should be able to absorb the financial impact. The App Store accounts for 6% of total revenue, and Europe’s contribution is likely less than 2%, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Anurag Rana and Andrew Girard.”