Sat. Sep 30th, 2023

Open ports: Europe could see its first third-party Apple App Store next year. Last year, the European Union passed the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The law prohibits “gatekeeper” companies such as Apple and Google from forcing developers to use their platforms and services, including payment methods. The European Commission set the rules on November 1, 2022, and platform holders have until next year to comply.

A service called “Setapp” plans to offer iPhone, iPad, and macOS users an alternative to Apple’s walled garden by 2024. The business model is more like Sony’s PlayStation Plus or Xbox’s Game Pass. Users pay a monthly fee for full access to the company’s 240+ managed apps.

Currently, the library is limited to only four categories: Optimize, Work, Create, and Develop. Sorry no games yet. However, some well-known user favorites already exist on the macOS version of the platform, including ClearVPN, project management app SheetPlanner, writing/publishing tool Ulysses, and programming tool CodeRunner.

Setapp includes an AI assistant similar to ChatGPT, which can advise users on which apps best suit their needs. Subscribers can also ask the chatbot about other topics, such as performing a fresh install of macOS.

Since Apple doesn’t restrict downloading Macs outside of the platform, macOS plans are available from as little as $10 per month for one computer. Setapp is waiting for Apple to comply with DMA rules, so the company hasn’t revealed an iOS-only pricing plan. However, $10 per month equates to current subscription levels.

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Setapp’s other tiers include the Mac + iOS plan for $12.50 per month starting sometime next year. This tier provides access for one Mac and 4 iOS devices. A Power User plan is the same, but adds three additional Macs for $15 per month. All plans have a 10 percent discount when prepaid for a year. Subscriptions begin with a week-long trial, during which users can cancel without being charged. Users interested in the iOS version only can join the waiting list for subscription pricing and availability updates.

It is worth noting that this alternative app store is only available in the EU. However, Apple is said to be making drastic changes to iOS, which may include the ability to sideload software to comply with the DMA. These features may very well carry over into global builds as it is much easier to maintain one operating system rather than two. We’ll see what happens this fall when Apple unveils iOS 17.

By Admin