For the first time in history, Apple is reportedly planning to allow iOS users to install third-party apps in the iPhone.
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who has also accurately reported new Apple functionality prior to their launch, said that Apple is preparing to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads, part of a sweeping overhaul aimed at complying with strict EU requirements coming in 2024.
“Software engineering and services employees are engaged in a major push to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms, according to people familiar with the efforts. As part of the changes, customers could ultimately download third-party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the company’s App Store, sidestepping Apple's restrictions and the up-to-30% commission it imposes on payments,” Gurman said.
What is a third-party app?
A third-party app is an application developed by a developer other than the original software developer or owner. The term has been used for decades. It is most often used for software that runs on desktop and mobile operating systems.
However, most other systems would also use it to refer to applications developed by third parties.
The installation of such apps on smartphones has long been one of the major drawbacks faced by iOS products while being one of the most beneficial features for Android users, allowing them to install any apps they find online by third-party developers.
While the functionality was welcomed by non-iPhone users over the years, many sites hosting these apps often open users up to piracy by even allowing the installation of paid apps for free.
Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone was a runaway hit for the US electronics maker, with over 40 million sold by mid-2009.
Although the iPhone is available in more than 100 countries and has an estimated 20 000 applications available in the App Store, they are all only available officially through the App Store.
Apple has failed to bring in third-party apps for the iPhone. The main reason for that is the risk of security breaches from third-party apps, which is much higher than the advantages.
Despite this, according to Apple reporting blog 9to5mac.com, the company is set to make a monumental change to the App Store on the iPhone amid looming regulations in the EU.
“Apple has software engineers and services employees working on a project to ‘allow alternative app stores’ on the iPhone and iPad. This change could launch as soon as iOS 17 next year,” Gurman reported.