Even Apple can’t escape change forever.
The famously restrictive company will allow third-party app stores for iOS devices, along with allowing users to “sideload” software directly. Spurring the move is the European Union’s (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA), which looks to ensure open markets by reducing the ability of digital “gatekeepers” to restrict content on devices.
While this is good news for app creators and end-users, there is a potential red flag: security. Here’s what the compliance-driven change means for Apple, applications and appropriate device protection.
The DMA: Taking a Bite Out of Apple
While the DMA doesn’t come into full force until March 6, 2024, many organizations are acting now to minimize disruption, and Apple is among them. The company is apparently on track to allow users to download and install third-party app stores on their iOS devices. Apple is on the hook to comply with changes to cable connections. By 2024, the company will add USB-C ports to all iPhones.
Breaking the locks on digital gatekeeping offers benefits for both application developers and end-users. From the developer’s perspective, using a third-party app store to sell their software lets them avoid commissions taken by Apple, which can be up to 30% of user payments per app. From the user side, being able to go outside the iOS app ecosystem offers both more choice and more control. Instead of waiting for Apple to vet and approve new software, users could find versions of their favorite apps already for sale on third-party marketplaces or available directly for download.