Apple has already announced that it will open up its mobile operating system due to pressure from European lawmakers. The changes may take effect from iOS 17.
This is a sudden and unexpected event. Mark Gurman claims that Apple is preparing for major changes to iOS. Allowing third-party app stores on iOS might be the first step. Followed by opening up the messaging system and replacing most of the built-in apps on the iPhone and iPad.
The Digital Services Regulation (DSA) and the Digital Market Regulation (DMA) actually impose restrictions on the American giant. These two European regulations require the biggest digital players to make their platforms more competitive and user-friendly by opening them up to more options. This is a good requirement, but it actually raises a number of issues, especially in terms of device security, given Apple’s extremely closed App Store. One of the factors contributing to iOS’s high level of security up to this point was the well-guarded app store.
Big changes for the App Store in iOS 17
Developers and service engineers are working to open critical components of Apple’s platforms, says Bloomberg’s author. As a result, they will give iOS and iPadOS users the ability to install apps directly from their devices instead of through Apple’s App Store. The principle accessible by „jailbreaking“ the California giant’s smartphones, known as „sideloading“, has long been at the center of a legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games in the US.
One of the main reasons for Apple’s communication and lobbying efforts before the DMA and DSA decision was the possibility of security threats if the App Store was no longer the only way to install apps. Apple will undoubtedly need to create new tools to keep its users secure. Even if essential, potential developments in this area will have to wait to be assessed.
In addition, Apple experts are considering making some mandatory security requirements even if software is downloaded outside the App Store to protect users from harmful apps. As now, these apps may need to be vetted by Apple before being released to the market. Naturally, this check will be expensive and will involve a new type of commission. We assume that it will naturally be less than the current level of 15%.
In-app purchases in the App Store
Additionally, Mark Gurman claims that Apple has yet to make a decision on an important aspect of the Digital Marketplaces Act. Will developers be allowed to integrate third-party payment systems into their apps? In other words, will developers be able to bypass Apple’s commission on in-app purchases?
Clearly, this has gotten Apple into serious trouble. There is a significant potential loophole when virtually complete control of an app store is lost. Even when their 30% commission no longer applies to all products and services in the App Store, the windfall that multiple commissions represent still equates to a huge stream of annual revenue. Because of this, Apple may be inclined to refrain from drying them up too quickly.
This means that in Apple’s last fiscal year, revenue from Europe was at least $95 billion. According to Bloomberg analysis, only 2% of the giant’s total revenue will come from Europe, and 6% from the App Store.
According to Mark Gurman’s sources, the new iOS changes will be implemented in Europe first to prevent this source of income from being completely jeopardized.
However, if other countries or regions of the world adopt a similar legal step, the completed work can serve as a basis. Apple’s main market, the US, is working on a legislative initiative quite similar to the DSA in Europe.
Therefore, Apple will have to learn how to deal with the opposition and divide this „pie“. This is undoubtedly good news for users and developers. Especially for the biggest of them, which could avoid the 30 percent tax only in certain circumstances if their application falls into certain categories. Such as the News Partner program for the media. Or more special agreements with streaming services like Amazon Prime Video.
iOS 17 will bring transparency at all levels
However, the App Store is not the only change coming to iOS/iPadOS. Apple will put further restrictions on it, highlighting the choices people still have. For example, changing the default program should be simple. Apple has already started to be more transparent about this issue. And now it allows the removal of most of its own apps. Even so, there are still very effective locks. This is especially true around her browser. Not only is Safari still a key component of iOS, but every other browser on the market must use the same rendering engine, WebKit, provided by the Cupertino giant.
In addition, Apple will aim to make more of its APIs available to external programs. As a result, apps created by other contributors will have greater access to core iOS features.
In addition, some material components may become more available. This applies to the NFC chip, which can only be accessed through Apple’s Cards app, as well as camera modules and technology. Users should benefit from this by having more options, but security is a constant concern.
The complexities of messaging
Messaging will be at the center of the chaos to stand out from the competition because it will need to work with other messaging services and the app itself will be more open to third-party developers. The long road ahead is clear from the fire Google continues to stoke to convince Apple to adopt the RCS standard. Tim Cook’s business seems to think about compatibility. But not with this standard, which is already Google technology as defended by the Mountain View company.
Apple developers fear that access to Messages could turn the app’s end-to-end encryption and other privacy protections upside down. Whether they were implemented in the beginning or have been reinforced recently.
Apple is reportedly devoting „a significant amount of resources to this,“ according to a Bloomberg writer. Given that this goes against every plan in place up to this point. Obviously, not everyone inside the company likes this. According to reports, some developers may also view this project as an unwanted deviation that delays the creation of important future features.
iOS 17 release date
According to Marc Gurman, Andreas Wendker and Jeff Robin are responsible for the new efforts in Apple’s software and services areas, respectively. The former was a long-time vice president of software at Apple and worked directly under Craig Federighi.
Since iOS 17 will include all of these improvements, Apple has a very tight deadline. The upcoming version of the iPhone mobile operating system is likely to be officially announced in June 2023 at the WWDC opening keynote.
The Cupertino giant will have to adapt like never before, that much is obvious. For example, Apple’s adoption of USB-C, which is required by the European Union, seems to have accelerated this action, for better or worse – time will tell. After all, this is the least of Apple’s worries in light of the projects mentioned.
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