Apple, famed for its strictly restricted app distribution system, may be weakening its hold on the walled garden with the introduction of app sideloading on iPhone is expected to begin with iOS 17. According to renowned tech writer Mark Gurman’s newsletter, Apple is updating its software to support sideloading, and there might be a corresponding announcement at the forthcoming Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which is slated for June.
Apple may take this action in response to altered European regulatory conditions. With the implementation of the EU’s Digital Market Act (DMA) in 2024, major digital companies will be required to provide developers and users with more options for app distribution by allowing alternative app stores on their platforms. Apple may have changed its mind about sideloading in response to this legislative shift.
Whether Apple will truly make sideloading possible with iOS 17 or if it is only setting the basis for such capability in the future is still up in the air. The business has not yet responded to the Bloomberg report with a statement.
Notably, Apple executives have long been outspoken in their opposition to sideloading, citing privacy and security issues, including CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, head of software engineering. However, Apple may be rethinking its position in light of prospective regulatory changes and growing demands from consumers and developers for more options for app distribution.
The Bloomberg story also mentioned that Apple will unveil improvements to its other operating systems, including iOS, macOS, and tvOS, with incremental updates anticipated. This is in addition to the potential for sideloading. The source, however, said that watchOS would undergo a dramatic design makeover, hinting potential significant changes in Apple’s wearable environment.
Mark Gurman’s Tweet – Power On: Here’s what’s coming at WWDC 2023, including the Reality Headset, xrOS, new Macs, a revamped watchOS and more
All eyes will be on Apple’s rumoured XR headset launch, which is anticipated to be geared towards developers. A new operating system and software development kit (SDK) that will give programmers the means to make apps for this predicted headset may also be released by Apple concurrently.
The potential introduction of sideloading apps on iPhones in iOS 17 may signal a significant shift in Apple’s app distribution strategy, and users and developers alike will be closely watching for further updates from the Cupertino-based company as the tech world eagerly awaits the announcements at WWDC.
Source: Mark Gurman’s Tweet