Apple is keeping the iPhone app distribution system closed, allowing users to download apps only from the App Store. But the company may add some gates to its “closed garden” to allow people to download third-party apps on the iPhone.
Bloomberg’s report notes that the Cupertino-based company will lay the groundwork for such functionality in iOS 17. Reporter Mark Gurman revealed in his mailing list that Apple is revisiting its software for third-party downloads, and we may see some kind of announcement related to this at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June .
Last year, another Bloomberg report hinted at Apple’s new approach to third-party downloading due to regulatory changes in Europe. The EU Digital Market Act (DMA) will come into force in 2024. This law will force major tech companies to allow alternative app stores on their platforms so that developers have choice when distributing apps and users have the ability to download apps from multiple sources.
It’s unclear if Apple plans to allow third-party downloads in iOS 17 or if it’s just making some changes at the operating system level to make this possible in the future. The company did not comment on this story.
Historically, Apple executives including Tim Cook and Craig Federighi have strongly opposed downloading , citing privacy and security concerns.
The latest Bloomberg report also notes that Apple will also announce updates to iOS, macOS, and tvOS. While these operating systems will get some incremental updates, watchOS could get a big redesign.
Naturally, all eyes will be on rumors that Apple will introduce its first XR headset , which will be aimed at developers at launch. Along with it, the company is also expected to release a new operating system and a software development kit that will provide developers with the building blocks to build applications for the headset.
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