Hot on the heels of the news that Apple will have to bring USB-C to the iPhone thanks to the EU, it now looks like the App Store is the next on the agenda. Discussions about whether third-party app stores should be allowed on iPhones and iPads have been bubbling along for years, but now the EU might wade in and make it happen.
The EU's new Digital Markets Act comes into force today, with the aim being that companies like Apple, Google, and others make their platforms more easily used together. Unfortunately, one byproduct might mean that Apple finds its App Store again in the firing line.
All the stores
The latest focus on the App Store comes after EU official Gerard de Graaf waded in, saying that "if you have an iPhone, you should be able to download apps not just from the App Store but from other app stores or from the internet." Wired reports that de Graaf then went on to say, "we expect the consequences to be significant," suggesting changes could well be afoot.
That isn't to say that the EU expects to be able to push through changes without pushback.
The EU's DMA is designed to ensure that large companies don't have an unfair advantage over smaller companies. It could see messaging services like iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp all being forced to work with each other for the first time. "De Graaf has predicted a wave of lawsuits challenging Europe's new rules for Big Tech," Wired reports.
Those lawsuits likely mean that any changes the EU tries to push through will take a while to come to fruition if they ever do. Whether the best iPhone is an iPhone that includes side-loading and third-party apps is an argument that will likely find its way into a European court at some point in the future.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.