Software engineers are purportedly working to make it possible for users to download third party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the App Store. This could allow companies to side step the up-to-30% commission that Apple charges on all transactions.
Apple is applying a significant amount of resources to the companywide endeavor. It hasn't been a popular initiative within Apple, considering that the company has spent years decrying the need for "sideloading" — the process of installing software without using the official App Store. In lobbying against the new European laws, Apple has argued that sideloading could put unsafe apps on consumers' devices and undermine privacy. Some engineers working on the plan also see it as distraction from typical day-to-day development of future features, according to the people. The company is aiming for the changes to be ready as part of an update to next year's iOS 17, which would be in line with requirements.
The effort is being led by Andreas Wendker, a software engineering vice president, who reports to Craig Federighi. Jeff Robbin, a top engineering manager for services, who reports to Eddy Cue, is also involved.
Notably, Apple is not planning to open up its platform to users outside Europe. There is antitrust legislation targeting iOS and the App Store under consideration in the USA; however, it has yet to pass.
Bloomberg says the company is also considering whether to mandate security requirements for apps installed outside of the App Store. This could involve verification by Apple and a fee, potentially defeating the goals of the EU's Digital Markets Act.
Finally, Apple has yet to make a final decision on whether it will comply with the DMA's requirement to allow third-party payment systems or whether it will make iMessage more interoperable with other messaging services. However, the company is working to open up more APIs to third party apps including camera, NFC, and more. Additionally, the Apple is considering removing its block of third party web browser engines.
More details in the full report linked below...