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Apple Reportedly Allowing Third-Party App Stores on iPhone, iPad As Early as Next Year

Apple could soon heed the request of regulators to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone and iPad.

Credit: TechCrunch

According to Bloomberg, the Cupertino tech giant already has software engineers and services employees working on bringing alternatives to the App Store on its popular devices as early as the release of iOS 17 next year. The report adds that the iPhone maker is allotting “significant amount of resources to the companywide endeavour".


The move comes in response to the European Union's passing of the Digital Markets Act, a piece of antitrust legislation that removes the advantages tech giants have over the competition.


If the change is indeed implemented, it would be the first time apps can be downloaded outside of the App Store on the iPhone and iPad. Apple has long been against the process of "sideloading," which allows users to bypass the iPhone maker's software store to install apps, due to it possibly making devices vulnerable to unsafe apps. This is likely why the decision was met with much internal criticism, with some engineers viewing it as “distraction from typical day-to-day development of future features”.

Andreas Wendker, Vice President of Software Engineering at Apple. Credit: Macworld

The project is being worked on by Apple's software engineering team under the leadership of Andreas Wendker, Vice President of Software Engineering. Wendker reports directly to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering. Apple's services team is said to be also involved.


Apple is said to still want some control over what’s being installed on its devices, so it’s considering mandating certain security requirements for apps distributed outside the App Store. These apps might first have to be verified by Apple, “a process that could carry a fee” for developers,” before they’ll be allowed on the iPhone and iPad. The report does however note that these aspects of the project are still up in the air right now.

 
  • Apple could soon heed the request of regulators to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone and iPad.

  • The Cupertino giant is reportedly already working on the change, which could come as early as the release of iOS 17 next year.

  • The move comes in response to the European Union's passing of the Digital Markets Act, a piece of antitrust legislation that removes the advantages tech giants have over the competition.


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