back to article Apple preps for 'third-party iOS app stores' in Europe

Apple is said to be preparing to end its exclusive control over iOS app distribution – but only in Europe – by allowing third-party app stores as required under European law. According to Bloomberg, when iOS 17 arrives next year, it will include architectural changes called for under the European Digital Markets Act (DMA), …

  1. Sean OConnor
    FAIL

    Thanks for nothing EU

    As an independent developer making most of my income from the AppStore the absolute last thing I want is for a plethora of ways for potential customers to come across my games.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Thanks for nothing EU

      Trying to figure out if you're serious, or just an Apple shill.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: Thanks for nothing EU

        On reflection, I reckon 70% serious and 30% Apple shill!

        1. Sean OConnor

          Re: Thanks for nothing EU

          Apple take 15% which for me as a one man business is an absolute bargain. I make a really good living from sales on the AppStore (about 5 times what I make from Android - I wonder why?)

          1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge
            Gimp

            Re: Thanks for nothing EU

            about 5 times what I make from Android - I wonder why?

            Perhaps because iFans tend (almost by definition) to have more money and are generally a bit more relaxed about spending it?

      2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Bad regulation

        Not everybody who disagrees with you is a shill. Sometimes they haven't even drunk the kool aid.

        Store fragmentation will be a PITA. It will mean extra work managing new store fronts, or ignoring them and forgoing the potential revenue. (And bare in mind, we use in-app purchases so it will almost certainly require more work than just uploading it.)

        If the EU thinks Apple is charging too much (and I think they are, and <5% would be fairer) then they could have regulated that directly. Or they could have forced them to carry different payment providers so we can chose who to use and have competition that way.

        Store-level competition is the worst option. Apple probably won't bring down their cut unless a real gorilla arises. But if a store gets moderately successful then you're worse off - even less time for meaningful development or less revenue.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Bad regulation

          This is el Reg. if you even HINT at seeing the positive in something Apple has done, the fandroids in the comments will beat you half to death with a sock filled with landfill Android junk.

        2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: Bad regulation

          The group pushing for this probably isn't thinking of the consumers. Epic want another platform they can sell on, and the likes of Spotify just want to avoid paying app store fees if they can.

          Will it be a good thing for the consumer? Not sure. In theory, it should be, as more competition means lower prices. In practice, that only works if the apps are available on multiple app stores. But Epic tend to require they have exclusive rights to the apps, which keeps prices high.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Thanks for nothing EU

      Although there are alternatives to the Play Store on Android, most developers don't use them, and I imagine it will be the same on Apple devices. But you will have a choice.

      1. Sean OConnor

        Re: Thanks for nothing EU

        And because there are alternatives on Android I’m losing out on sales there. I looked at the Huawei store but it looks like you need a Chinese partner. No problems if you’re a big games studio, but it’s all too much bureaucracy for a one man company

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Thanks for nothing EU

          The actual reason why you make more money on the Apple store is because iPhone users tend to have more money than Android users.

          I believe there's some people who only have the choice of the Huawei store, and not the Play Store, and obviously you would lose them by not being listed there, but where people do have a choice between Play and some alternative, they probably installed the alternative to get software that isn't available on Play or is cheaper somewhere else, but they would likely look in both places.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Thanks for nothing EU

      the absolute last thing I want is for a plethora of ways for potential customers to come across my games.

      /me does double-take

      Whu...?

      uh... don't you want your applications sold in as MANY stores as possible?

      1. skwdenyer

        Re: Thanks for nothing EU

        Why have your app sold on 10 stores when right now you can have it sold on 1 store and cover the whole market?

        Do you seriously believe the extra effort to be listed on 10 stores will offset the slight reduction in commission payable? Or that users won't simply accept cheaper apps (meaning the same or less revenues for developers)?

        The Apple App Store has been one of the standout successes of development in the last 10 years, exposing small developers' wares on a broadly equal footing to a global audience in a way simply not feasibly possible at any time in the past without enormous resources and obscene marketing budgets.

        As other shave mentioned, the *only* people who will win from this ruling are potential store operators at scale (e.g. Epic); it is a lose-lose for almost everybody else.

    4. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: Thanks for nothing EU

      As an independent developer making most of my income ...

      ah well then, the entire world should bend the knee to Mr. O'Connor so he can continue to milk the cow.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Thanks for nothing EU

        ” ah well then, the entire world should bend the knee to Mr. O'Connor so he can continue to milk the cow.“

        Zolko, don’t be a nob.

    5. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Thanks for nothing EU

      Then don't list there. Problem solved. Everyone will have the Apple version preinstalled. Everyone who uses apps will have some that you can only get from there, so everyone who wants your app will check for it there. This is the same as on Android. I get a lot of apps from FDroid, but if I need something specific, I already know that you can only get it from the Play Store, so I get it from there (via an anonymized connection, but it still comes from there). People who don't want to release as open source don't have to use FDroid for me to know how to install their app.

  2. Spazturtle Silver badge

    This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users, part of the value of an iPhone came from not having to worry that you or your children might accidentally download a virus or scam app.

    If you want to install apps from random websites then there is already an option for consumers to do that, it's called buying an Android phone.

    Forcing iPhones to be like Android just takes choice away from consumers.

    1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

      Absolutely this. I'm not arguing the app store is perfect, but the alternatives are far worse, generally.

      OK, sure, there'll be IT bods and enthusiasts who may benefit from this, but for the general population, no thanks. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple conceded this in a particularly Applesque way, such as hobbling the permissions or system resources of anything not originating from the app store - perhaps even sandboxing them entirely.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        It could be like MacOS, where it is buried in system settings, and every time you install something, you have to go back into system settings to unblock it. No problem for the average El-Reg reader, but probably a barrier for normal people.

      2. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: I'm not arguing the app store is perfect, but the alternatives are far worse

        There aren't any alternatives, currently. That's the point.

        -A.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Giving a choice of stores takes choice away?

      Don't see how that reduces the value of an iPhone at all - if you want to stay with the app store it's preinstalled - just don't install any of the others and you are in exactly the same situation as now.

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        It merely being possible to install dodgy apps means that it is something that people would then have to worry about. They have to worry that their kids will follow instructions on a website and install viruses or bypass parental controls.

        Consumers already have the choice of installing any store they want by buying and Android device. If you make iPhones open like Android then you have taken away the choice of buying a secure locked down device.

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Consumers only have the choice of installing any store they want by buying an Android device. The new rules mean consumers will have that choice irrespective of device (IOS or Android). Because the new rules will apply to both IOS and Android, Google will have to continue offering that choice on Android.

          Now all consumers will have the choice of installing any store they want. They will not be forced to use other stores or sideload apps they still have choice not to.

      2. skwdenyer

        Tell me how app discovery works in a multi-store world.

    3. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

      No it doesn't.

      1) Most of the value of an iPhone for average users is that they don't have one, so didn't have to pay the ridiculous price. Unaffected.

      2) Most of the value of an iPhone for average iPhone owners is to ostentatiously signal their superior wealth, taste and lifestyle. Unaffected.

      3) Any value resulting from use of the Apple store can be preserved by continuing to use the Apple store. No one forces you to use any alternative. Of course, in a competitive environment it is entirely possible that some alternative might offer better value and better security. That's how this kind of thing is supposed to play out, we've often been told.

      -A.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

        The value to me of an iPhone is that lasts a lot longer than a typical Android, so the cost per year is lower in exchange for a higher up-front cost.

        My 8+ is still a very useable phone that is getting the latest software updates. Probably there will be another year of feature updates followed by 2 years of security updates before it becomes obsolete.

        1. D@v3

          Re: long support

          I was reading something yesterday suggesting that iOS 15 security updates will be made available to devices not compatible with iOS16, i can't imagine there is a lot of that sort of behavior going on in Android country, where last years phone is dead in the water.

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: long support

            Yes, if they follow normal practice, iOS15 updates will be available for 2 years from the release of iOS 16.

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

        @Captain veg

        1. No, that’s stupid.

        2. No. Also stupid.

        3. No. A huge value of the Apple ecosystem is not having to worry about anything beyond functionality. Introduce third parties into the mix and the whole system becomes less secure, more complex and loses a key differentiator against Android.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

          I notice you haven't attempted to justify any of your assertions.

          Can you?

          -A.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

            Your arguments (1) and (2) are juvenile whining on the level of waa waa I can't afford an iPhone so I'll lash out at those who can. No justification is required as these arguments are hormonally driven nonsense.

            Your argument (3) is demonstrably false, as outlined in my response. An increase in app loading vectors equals an increase in attack vectors, and exponentially so if those vectors are not under Apple’s control.

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

              > Your arguments (1) and (2) are juvenile whining on the level of waa waa I can't afford an iPhone

              I can. I'm just not stupid.

              > No justification is required as these arguments are hormonally driven nonsense.

              I'm nearly pensionable. Between the two of us, I think it more likely that you are the child.

              > Your argument (3) is demonstrably false

              No it isn't. I asked you to demonstrate it and you haven't.

              -A.

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

                Re (1) and (2) you’re not exactly demonstrating your superior IQ here. Might want to work on that.

                On (3); well see, that’s the great thing about science-based arguments. You can dispute them all you like; they don’t need you to believe them in order to be true.

                1. captain veg Silver badge

                  Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

                  So you can't support any of your arguments with facts,

                  Bye.

                  -A.

                  1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                    Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

                    Your reading comprehension clearly equals your intellect in the category of “hit rock bottom, kept on digging”.

                    Go back and read it again. It’s all there in shades of black, white or whichever fruity rainbow tint flicks your particular switch this morning.

                    1. captain veg Silver badge

                      Re: This massively reduces the value of an iPhone for average users

                      No it isn't.

                      Since your argument (such as it is) comprises entirely of throwing out childish insults, I refute it thus: you, sir, are an absolute tit.

                      -A.

    4. cipnt

      Securing a system by blocking access is not security, it's just lazy.

      I'm sure Apple can keep things secure even with sideloaded apps.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        ” Securing a system by blocking access is not security, it's just lazy.“

        With respect, that’s daft. Most forms of security involve blocking or preventing access in one form or another.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          No they don't.

          If that were true then Apple could trivially implement absolute security by simply blocking access to its devices to everyone.

          I expect that you would notice.

          Maybe not.

          -A.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            "If that were true then Apple could trivially implement absolute security by simply blocking access to its devices to everyone."

            Apple absolutely could do this. And by doing so they would implement substantial, although by no means absolute, security. But as I'm sure even you could figure out, that would damage their position in the market somewhat.

            Therefore all security is a tradeoff between allowing sufficient access to products and services such that they can continue to provide value to legitimate users, whilst blocking those who should not have access. A simple example is a padlock and key. A more complex modern-day example is a defensive DDOS strategy.

            I'm loath to quote absolutes, however I'm struggling to think of a form of security that DOESN'T involve blocking access in one form or another.

  3. skeenster

    Does this include the UK?

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Probably. Because the main difference that leaving the EU has generally made to us is having to follow everything they do while now actually having no say about any of it.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        The UK doesn't *have* to follow everything the EU does. It's just that not doing so makes no sense at all on any objective measure.

        -A.

    2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

      Brexit means Brexit

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Yes, but what does that MEAN?

        1. monty75

          It means Brexit, as the previous poster explained

        2. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: what does that MEAN?

          I can answer that.

          Brexit means sticking two fingers up at European immigrants*.

          It consequently means accepting more immigrants** from other parts of the world, because the UK economy can't function without immigration.

          -A.

          *Of course, in a single market they are no more immigrants than English, Norn-Irish, Scottish or Welsh people moving to a different part of the UK.

          ** Quite a lot of them will be brown or black, which I hazard to suggest is not what typical Brexit voters intended.

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: what does that MEAN?

            Indeed that’s the consequence. And it’s *exactly* what I saw as an advantage of Brexit: more global outlook, less racial discrimination. Remainers were lied to as to Brexiteer motives.

            In fact it’s Remainers who want the whites-only Christian Europe. You won’t find very many non-white Remainers. I’m mixed race, none of which is “European”. I assure you that, doing a lot of business with the Commission as I used to, active racism is casual and endemic at all levels there that you just haven’t seen in the UK since the seventies. Things aren’t perfect here…but I’d never been handed a mop and blue tabard until I went to the EU Commission for a business meeting…..

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: what does that MEAN?

              > it’s *exactly* what I saw as an advantage of Brexit: more global outlook

              You didn't notice the explicit xenophobia of the Leave campaign? That's what you voted for.

              > In fact it’s Remainers who want the whites-only Christian Europe

              I'm a rational atheist and completely colour-blind when it comes to skin pigment. Don't you dare claim to know what I want.

              -A.

              1. Justthefacts Silver badge

                Re: what does that MEAN?

                I saw the explicit xenophobia of some of the Leave campaign. I didn’t vote for the *campaign*, I voted for the choice on the ballot paper. Sometimes different radically different positions end up on the same side, cf UK and Stalin in WW2.

                But I do see daily the explicit codified racism of the EU *institutions*. There is literally an EU Commission VP for “promoting the European way of life”. The role (not the person) specifically references “Faith as an integral and fundamental part of the European Way of Life.” The EU monitors “diversity” very specifically as referring only to gender balance, and neither officially monitors nor acknowledges as diversity racial or cultural elements, nor LGBT.

                Since you choose to go personal with “how dare you”, I’m afraid your comment actively demonstrates how *not* colour-blind you are. You stand there telling a non-white person which is more racist. Because *you* know better than their direct experience. Pre-Brexit, Schengen, I was ushered to stand in the non-EU passport line at Schiphol and Brussels more times than I can count, despite that I’m a Londoner with a cut-glass accent travelling from London in a suit. Nary a peep of support from the all-white Schengen line. Colour-blind you are not. How dare you.

                Are you even aware of #BrusselsSoWhite ? I doubt it.

                If you were colour-blind, you would acknowledge the daily racism that every single EU institution actively operates at its very core, and assert something like “better on the inside of the tent pissing out, than on the outside pissing in”. That would be an honourable response, deluded but honourable. The fact that you *don’t* acknowledge the lived experience of millions of British people of colour trying to navigate the shitshow of the EU tells me everything I need to know about you.

                1. Justthefacts Silver badge

                  Re: what does that MEAN?

                  On the subject of what Schengen meant (or rather didn’t mean) for the UKs non-white population, I’ve long held the theory that what’s at core for Remainers getting so frothy-mouthed about Schengen (which after all, is just an airport queue) is this:

                  Remainers got used to being in the privileged airport queue, which they associated with being the whites-only queue. When they realised they might be going to lose their privilege, and be put back with the non-white Londoners in the other queue, they felt insulted and humiliated. It’s really the only explanation for their emotional response to what is *just a queue*. It’s just a queue. But as a Londoner, it’s symbolic for me that now we all stand in the same queue.

                  1. captain veg Silver badge

                    Re: what does that MEAN?

                    > On the subject of what Schengen meant

                    The UK has never been in Schengen. So it meant, or didn't mean, diddly-squat for its white or non-white population. Equally.

                    > Remainers got used to being in the privileged airport queue, which they associated with being the whites-only queue

                    Sorry to have to break it to you, but this is utter bollocks. The "whites-only" queue is for holders of EEA passports. Once you get to the front of said, more likely than not a machine will read your passport. The machines don't know the colour of your skin. It's not encoded in the passport.

                    -A.

        3. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
          Joke

          What does it mean? Yes.

          ... perfectly illustrated by the good people of Little Britain

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDDQ3A2ceB4

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      It includes Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

    The iPhone was until now one of the more safer platforms, so I guess it stands to reason that the EU wants to create a level playing feld by making it equally unsafe as the Android platform (which makes me glad that Microsoft already left that market), but I hope I get the choice as consumer to disable it or to download the US loadset which doesn't have any of this nonsense. The amount of time it saves me not having to evaluate every app for possible infection is worth the money, at least for me (your use may differ, of course).

    To be honest, the EU has been a massive disappointment when it comes to anti-competitive behaviour, as demonstrated by their inability to deal with Microsoft. It takes years, and the measures eventually proposed are so easy to bypass and have so little impact that might not have bothered. Or maybe that's the way to get bribed, no, wait, that's called "being lobbied"..

    If it wasn't for getting a decent grip on privacy and some recent decent criminal investigations I'd call them useless.

    1. tangentialPenguin

      Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

      Sideloading is disabled by default and you have to go through quite a few menus to enable it, so how exactly is it making Android less safe?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

        On the hateful Samsung Android phone provide by my employer, I have separate app stores from Google play and Samsung.

        1. tangentialPenguin

          Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

          Well that's the manufacturer of the phone, of course they can put their own software on. If Apple let 3rd party manufacturers make the iPhone they'd be able to put their own stores on there too.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

            If Apple let 3rd party manufacturers make the iPhone

            Where do you think iPhones are made? In the basement at Cupertino in California?

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

      I've got a magical solution for anyone who doesn't want to use third-party app stores. It's a bit complicated, but I think anyone reading here can manage it. Just follow these steps:

      1. Don't turn it on.

      Seriously, that's all that's involved. They're not mandating that every possible store is preinstalled. They're not providing for automatic installations. What they've asked for is a switch which Apple can bury in the settings, put scary security warnings around, and which you have the freedom to leave turned off. Nobody would be required to sideload or to use anything that Apple doesn't run.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

        Whoever downvoted that, identify yourself and justify it.

        -A.

      2. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

        Super, super naive. It’s rather easy for governments to launch a bunch of apps that become semi-required to live within the modern world. Ranging from the NHS Covid app, a 2FA app to submit your tax return, an appointments app to access local council services, or a Deutschebahn tap-to-ticket.

        Which app store do you think those daily-living apps will launch on within the EU? Apple Store? Or only on the “European competitor” App Store? You know the answer. That’s how EU iOS users will be “encouraged”/forced to install the European Competitor App Store. Or they can live outside the system like Roma, so of course everyone has a “choice”.

        I’m aware it doesn’t exist yet, but it will soon, it will be open-source but managed by a team of very well-paid school-friends of the Commissioner. I remember seeing the RFP on the Commission website several years back to develop an integration for that. It should be here somewhere:

        https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/funding

        This is how the game is played.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

          "Which app store do you think those daily-living apps will launch on within the EU? Apple Store? Or only on the “European competitor” App Store? You know the answer."

          I do, but it's not your answer. Governments have been happy to put their apps in the normal stores forever. Let's look at Android. Which store has the government apps? Is it FDroid? No. Is it EUStore? No, that's not a thing. It is, in fact, the Play Store where they put them all. So I wouldn't expect them to want to build another.

          Let's say they do anyway. Given the level of success such things have had before, I doubt that would ever happen. Let's assume, though, that I'm wrong. So what? If you find you need an app that's not in the normal store, you can either live without it or accept enabling that store just to download the app you need, then not using it for anything else. If it works anything like Android, you can enable the store for the app you decided you want, install that app, then disable the store and the app still works.

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

            “you find you need an app that's not in the normal store, you can either live without it”

            Can you live it without? Are you actually sure? An elderly disabled person with very low income, needs to book an appointment for a review to receive Personal Independence Payment. If they don’t get it, they won’t heat their home, and they likely won’t make it through the winter. Appointment booking is online. They don’t know how to “use a computer”, and the printed info through the letterbox, which they have to get their neighbour to read because their eyesight is poor, says “just download the app”.

            And you want to have a debate with them about their options, security and privacy implications of various App Stores and settings?

            “I wouldn’t expect [governments] to build an EU store”. Expect whatever you like.

            I literally just provided you the link on the EU website how to search the RFP to build the EU store. It might take some archaeology because *it’s really old news*. These things are always done years before they are voted into law.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

              Someone doesn't know how to use a computer, but can make an appointment online, has a smartphone, and knows how to enable a different app store, even through Apple's security warnings, but can't read instructions? Those factors are mostly incompatible with each other. By the way, if they know how to mess with their app installation methods, they can also figure out how to use the browser that comes installed on every smartphone, so their lack of a computer is not a factor. This person would be confused how to do anything if they're unaware of computers and can't read the instructions they were sent. In this case, there is a big problem, but it's not where the app is listed. It's that someone incapable of following a process they need was sent only one option for doing so, an option that relied on them having hardware they might not have, which would be a problem. Fortunately, that's not how such things have been done, and this is a made up example you're using to make a flawed point.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Justthefacts Silver badge

                Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

                Yes. About half of the over-70s for example. They may have smartphones, because that’s almost the only thing one can buy nowadays, even the looky-likey Nokia is a smartphone under the hood. But they have *never* installed an app of any type, nor browsed the web. Those people are going to get their friendly neighbour to do the online booking for them, just so they don’t have to “bother my son who is at work”.

                You are putting barriers in the way, so those people may not get the help they need, just so you can feel good about yourself. That’s why people like me give their parents iPhones not Android phones. And yes our parents may be only a year from being switched to a Doro (if you know, you know), but you are vandalising our coping mechanisms for that last year. How can I give my very elderly Mum a phone that there is *any* chance she can install a dodgy Android “banking” app that says “Barclays”, by pressing random icons or menu choices? It’s insane.

                And speaking of Doro phones, are those illegal now too? They will soon be 4G under the hood, if they aren’t already. Is the manufacturer going to be required to install some sequence of keypresses to make the whole thing spring into life as a rooted hacker-phone, to be used by someone with advanced dementia in a hospital bed? Whose choices are being respected here? And if not, *how does the stupid law not apply to them, where does it say so in the text*?

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. esque

      Re: I hope there's an option to block this nonsense.

      "To be honest, the EU has been a massive disappointment when it comes to anti-competitive behaviour"

      AS compared to...?

      Certainly not the US or the UK, both of whom led companies do what they want.

  5. Totally not a Cylon
    Mushroom

    now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

    Now I want to see the European Authorities apply this to the German Car Industry as well.

    If Apple can be forced to open their devices to other App Store then surely cars should be treated the same?

    Why can't I just install CoPilot (other satnavs are available) on my car's infotainment system? Why should I be forced to use the rubbish satnav the car maker has been paid to put on?

    Popcorn time if they do....

    1. dwodmots

      Re: now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

      A car is not a general purpose computing device.

      1. Totally not a Cylon
        Boffin

        Re: now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

        The Infotainment system is. It should be separate to the engine management/safety systems.

        Whereas that big screen in the dashboard is 'A General Purpose Computing Unit'.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: that big screen in the dashboard

          You're describing a tablet.

          Why would I want the massively overpriced one offered by the manufacturer?

          Why, ten years down the line, would I continue to want that particular one?

          -A.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

      Liability is the reason why you can't install an alternative system.

      If you think that the German makers are bad... Just try running CarPlay or Android Auto on your Tesla. That is as closed a system as you will get.

      The Musk Car Company refuses to sell you any spares. I've been able to buy spares from BMW in the past.

      I use my TomTom in my car. My route for the day is in the TomTom (the same device is used on my Motorcycle) and if I need to divert somewhere then I use the car's satnav.

      Oh, and many of the car satnavs used Here Maps. They are crap but that is another story.

      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Tesla spares

        Not only will Tesla sell you spares, they publish the full parts list and workshop manuals on the web, completely free of charge (service.tesla.com).

        Is it just possible that you haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about?

        GJC

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tesla spares

          Try installing spares not bought via official channels (from, for instance, a braker's yard, a perfectly decent way to recycle parts). In that they're worse than your average inkjet manufacturer - they will boot you off the supercharger network if they detect an unauthorised part.

          Very Musk, actually. I suspect the next upgrade will then also call you a pedophile..

          1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Tesla spares

            Also nonsense. I just upgraded my driver's seat to a later type, bought from a breakers yard and using cheap additional wiring harnesses bought from Tesla.

            I had to take the completed job into a Tesla service centre for them to upgrade the software to support the new features, the techie there was very interested in what I had done, went and did a bit of research, fiddled with his laptop for a while, and sorted it all out. He then thanked me for bringing him an interesting problem, and charged me half an hour labour for the 90 minutes he'd spent on it.

            GJC

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Tesla spares

              So you had a Tesla engineer install and charge you for it, instead of doing it yourself and it all worked - after he fiddled with his laptop (which proves that without the aformentioned fiddling you would have had a problem). Aha.

              So that's where their profits sit.

              Good to know.

              1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
                Holmes

                Re: Tesla spares

                Same as any other modern car. Unlike most other modern cars, I could have done it myself, but the software tools are rather impenetrable and not cheap, so I chose not to.

                GJC

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

        ”I've been able to buy spares from BMW in the past.”

        I’m afraid you’ll need a subscription for your spares soon.

    3. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

      My small French car has no inbuilt sat-nav, which is how thing ought to be. Instead it offers an adjustable mounting bracket and USB connector for a device of your choosing. It's got some kind of bluetooth Android thing too, but I chose to ignore that.

      Anyone who bought a new car ten years ago and specced an inbuilt sat-nav is now either embarrassed at how basic it is, or has given up on ponying up absurd amounts for map updates.

      I'm happy that the Froggy* electronics allow me to insert a USB storage device and have it play the content thereon, even FLAC-encoded. There's a 3.5mm jack socket too, in case that's too high tech. This also is how it should be.

      -A.

      * OK it's a 3rd generation Twingo, so basically the same as a German Smart. I dunno, maybe some Mercedes Benz people realise that it's more important that it works than that it's new.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

        Anyone who bought a new car ten years ago and specced an inbuilt sat-nav

        Hasn't seen that car since the PCP term ended.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: now extend it to the German Car Makers.....

          Nice point.

          But the resale value was a consideration in the contract, wasn't it?

          -A.

  6. DenTheMan

    Less is more..

    Who would have thought that lack of choice and the Apple tax is a consumer benefit.

    All those obsolete phones being allowed to continue is a no no so they say..

    1. bo111

      Consumer First

      As an European consumer I have greatly benefited from things like no-roaming charges when travelling, ability to easily change mobile provider or electricity provider etc. This Apple store change will benefit consumers and competing businesses. Cheaper apps anyone?

      Long term it will improve security tech, because the security problem will have to be approached differently. Besides I doubt many users will go to other app stores anyway.

      Sure Apple investors or some developers will be unhappy, but this is how EU works: "consumer first". I am still surprised that Facebook was allowed to buy Whatsapp and Instagram. US anti-monopoly laws clearly do not work. I even suspect that many of US politicians are Apple or Facebook investors, thus the conflict of interest.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Less is more..

      I'm puzzled by the whole obsolete thing.

      1 - you don't HAVE to update an iPhone every time a new one comes out - as a matter of fact, I'd suggest always skipping at least one release unless there's something in a new phone that is of use to you.

      2 - it's not like Lightning cables are magically going to vanish by that date so you can still use your older phones.

      3 - I even have an iPhone 6s which still gets updates (and still works, which is weirdly long for a lithium battery but I digress).

      I hear that Android phones of some brands now also get security updates for longer than their warranty lasts, so I don't see the obsolete argument as valid.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple could...

    remove all warranties if you use 3rd party app stores. That would deter many casual users.

    As an iPhone user, I am 100% sure that I would never use a 3rd party app store. I suspect that I am not alone there.

    However, as I don't use my phone for social media or email I've removed a whole attack vector in a flash.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Apple could...

      I just asked a few cow-orkers (who have Android). Only one knew about other app stores, and that's because, like my phone, Galaxy Store was built in. And, like me, they don't use it.

      I do, however, sideload specific apps. One is YouTube-without-the-tracking (not available on Play for obvious reasons), another is an older copy of a simple editor because I found the amount of forced full screen advertising to be invasive, so I rolled back to a backup. I also use sideloading to quickly install my core app selection on a new device (copy across apks, install, done).

      So, I think that it will be a useful feature for those who know what it is and why it's there, and largely ignored by pretty much everybody else. Apple only needs to be like Android and disallow sideloading on a per-app basis (this app isn't allowed to install applications...) complete with a big clear scary warning before letting you turn off the block (per app, so if the file manager can install apps, the browser can't...).

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: Apple could...

        The roll back to a previous version is a godsend on Android. I had a camera whose companion app had an update which made the previously free ability to download RAW files a U$69 subscription. The changelog said 'bug fixes' so there was no warning that they were doing it.

        Thanks to Android I could sideload the previous version and continue on my merry way. My friend who had the same camera and an iPad couldn't roll back or sideload and was completely screwed.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Apple could...

          If your friend uses local backups, they might have an older version coincidentally backed up which they can add. I'm not sure if that is portable across devices (I'm assuming not), and few people bother with iTunes syncing or backups, but it could be worth a try.

    2. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

      Re: Apple could...

      "remove all warranties if you use 3rd party app stores"...

      Not according to EU law. In the EU consumer devices get 2 years statutory warranty written into law that's heavily biased towards the consumer in terms of burden of proof.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple could...

        That's just the hardware, though. I suspect the first thing that will happen f you have a software problem is that the support guy you're talking to will check if you have 3rd party app stores enabled, and at that point it'll be sayonara - we will install standard iOS and if that works warranty conditions have been satisfied. Which would be correct, actually, if you get your PC looked after because you installed Yet Another Gadget which sideloads a virus the IT staff is also going to zap your harddisk and start again.

        So, warranty you can have. Data integrity after enabling 3rd party app stores, not so much.

        Apple puts a heck of a lot more effort into preventing infected apps entering the app store, it's one of their selling points.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: Apple could...

          "we will install standard iOS and if that works warranty conditions have been satisfied"

          When do Apple or anyone else for that matter ever try and fix software issues? The default steps are always:

          1 - turn off and on

          2 - back up your data and do a factory reset

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple could...

            Same as its ever was, same as it ever was ...

            1. Anonymous Coward
  8. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    What's up with all these Apple shills today?

    Nooooo we don't want the option to "sideload" apps like it's possible on every other operating system

    Nooooo I need my Apple censorship, imagine if someone could download the "real" version of Telegram without blocked channels, or even something super duper evil like a Gab app?

    Nooooo I do not want unapproved stuff like emulators or system-wide adblockers!

    Nooooo what if people in China download VPN apps or Tor? This must be stopped!

    Nooooo imagine the security problems if people on old, unsupported iPhones could still download apps!

    Nooooo imagine if you could use iOS without an Apple account, the horror!

    1. X5-332960073452
      Headmaster

      "Nooooo imagine if you could use iOS without an Apple account, the horror!"

      You can!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It would help if you'd actually ever been near an iOS device - it's perfectly possible to operate it without an Apple account.

      You only need one if you want to install apps.

  9. TheSirFin

    Update <1%

    I am pretty confident that the update of this will be very very limited.

    The average iPhone user (me included) will not have any truck with this sort of feature.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Update <1%

      I agree I would not touch it with a 10 foot pole but what I fear is that some vendors of major apps will refuse to release their stuff on Apple's app store as a way of getting around the restrictions on sharing of data. They'll claim it is about the 30% but that won't be the real reason, as even free apps will have a reason to leave Apple's grasp.

      If the opportunity is there, Zuck will pull Facebook's app from Apple's app store in a hot minute and make it available only on the 'Facebook app store', so that he can get around Apple's rules for data collection that have hampered his precious ad revenue. And unfortunately a lot of people would shrug their shoulders and download that app. Once people are conditioned to that by one big app they feel they can't do without (whether Facebook, some Epic game, Elon's Twitter hellscape or whatever) it becomes easier for them to do the second time.

      Eventually big companies would all operate their own app store so they can live without rules. You and I will be forced to either knuckle under and follow, or accept that our iPhones have become a lot shittier of a product thanks to meddling Eurocrats.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Update <1%

        Honestly, tell me how much apple pay its users to be so evangelical about their weird devices?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Update <1%

          I use an iphone as my personal phone. I don't particularly like it, but it's not an infuriating dogs dinner of a phone to use like my employer provided Android phone, which I absolutely detest.

          The iPhone cost next to nothing as it is 5 years old, but still streets ahead of the brand new Android phone.

          If there was a decent alternative to the iPhone then I would be interested, but as yet, nobody has offered one.

          As for this sideloading thing. I don't give a shit. I probably wouldn't bother anyway.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Update <1%

          Oh dear, jealous?

          For my work I would not be able to use Android as it has no ability to securely segregate contents via encrypted profile containers. It's that simple.

          There, I didn't even mention Google once :).

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Update <1%

            Why is it that when you loathe something for being user hostile and basically unusable (I do have experience with iOS, colleague has iDevices aplenty, all of them FIGHT you every step of the way. Want access to the file system? No way José) that people assume you're JEALOUS? If someone gave me an iPhone it'd be on fleabay as fast as poss

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The third party app stores will obviously forced to use Apple's IAP.

    And all the little token gestures they're offering will be to try and avoid their main cash cow getting put down

  11. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

    I can imagine that Epic have a gaming app-store lined up from which it can distribute IOS on the iPhone again. IIRC Apple had a permanent injunction issued by the judge against them to prevent them from retaliating by closing down Epics developer accounts until the litigation had ran it's course, including appeals ( https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/9/21492334/epic-fortnite-apple-lawsuit-restraining-order-unreal-engine ). I can think of a billion other reasons why Epic would do this https://www.protocol.com/apple-epic-trial/apple-epic-fortnite-commisions .

  12. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    ” Another possibility is that Apple may open its FindMy network, used for locating AirTags and Apple hardware, to third-party hardware.”

    It already is. Chipolo and VanMoof are two companies that piggyback on Find My to allow their devices to be located.

    On an unrelated note; I think this is a bad move by the EU. Consumers should be able to choose an expensive, secure ultra locked down environment if that’s what they want, and if not… there are alternatives available.

    1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

      “ Consumers should be able to choose an expensive, secure ultra locked down environment if that’s what they want, and if not… there are alternatives available.”

      Erm, and nothing the EU proposes will stop this. If the consumer chooses not to install the extra App Store, they are still getting exactly what you described.

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        You didn't understand: what iPhone users want is the freedom to be locked down against their will. They want to not be given the choice to have a choice. Simply having the choice to not use a choice is not enough, that choice must actively be banned. See, that's why 1984 will not be like 1984.

        Yes, I know that doesn't make sense, but I didn't begin it

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Amazingly, that makes sense. I love my iPhone *precisely* because it doesn't offer choice. I'm sick of choice. Sick of having 2000 options for absolutely bloody everything. Sick of the EU telling me I have to learn the pros and cons of every single piece of software out there so I can "make an informed choice", rather than making ONE choice for ONE ecosystem, in the knowledge that EVERYTHING in that ecosystem has a minimum quality level that I find acceptable and functions in the way it is intended without having to risk being rogered sideways by some miscreant in Albania who wants to help himself to my private information and then lock me out of my house until I pay him my spleen.

          I chose the Apple ecosystem. I LIKE the Apple ecosystem. It works for me. If I wanted to bollock around with a lego set full of software bits and and try to build my OWN ecosystem, I'd have chosen Android or Microsoft.

          EU, leave. it. the. fuck. alone.

          1. captain veg Silver badge

            I love my iPhone

            You can leave it right there. No rational argument required.

            -A.

          2. Falmari Silver badge

            @Lord Elpuss "I love my iPhone *precisely* because it doesn't offer choice. I'm sick of choice"

            Because you are sick of choice no one should have any choice except what a platform gatekeeper grants them. European Digital Markets Act (DMA) does not just apply to IOS it applies to the other large platforms too. So what do you suggest scrapping DMA allowing platforms to become more restrictive*, or should DMA apply to everyone but Apple?

            "EU, leave. it. the. fuck. alone."

            I bet you weren't saying that when the EU forced the browser choice on MS.

            *Google could block App stores on Android they have been getting more and more restrictive.

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        @Phones Sheridan

        Not true. Once the app store is fragmented, the inherent security and control over the whole ecosystem is weakened. Apps that Apple does not control or curate will be allowed onto iPhones around the world, massively increasing the potential attack surface. Expect an exponential increase in exploits.

        1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

          So you are arguing, that if a consumer chooses not to install any other app stores, then his iPhone has a massively increased attack surface?

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Yes. Because weakening the ecosystem safeguards to allow non-curated apps onto iPhones provides many new and interesting exploit vectors for miscreants to discover. And once they've discovered them, working backwards to figure out how to apply it to YOUR phone becomes an order of magnitude easier than it would have been if they hadn't had that initial bit of help.

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Get a developer account. Role-play being a miscreant. You can discover weaknesses on YOUR phone all by yourself.

              Not that there are any, of course.

              Are there?

              -A.

            2. doublelayer Silver badge

              "weakening the ecosystem safeguards to allow non-curated apps onto iPhones provides many new and interesting exploit vectors for miscreants to discover."

              No, it doesn't. You don't need Apple's permission to load code you right onto your phone. That's all you need to search for and discover exploits. An alternate method of installation doesn't let you run anything that you couldn't before; it lets others more easily install something you wrote. This won't generate new exploits, but it would allow someone to try releasing their exploit-laden app outside Apple's review systems. Of course, if it's a working exploit, that app would get through the review anyway, and Apple would still have to fix their OS, not their app installation method, to deal with it. The security systems in place that sandbox apps would not have to be weakened and exploits would not be any easier to find with this method in place.

            3. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

              You are aware that iOS developers can load code onto their iPhones? The only thing they can’t do is upload it to the App Store.

        2. captain veg Silver badge

          Expect an exponential increase in exploits.

          But you won't be affected, will you, because you won't be part of that magically massively increased potential attack surface.

          Or is your problem that this might make Apple look bad?

          -A.

  13. joed

    we'll see if it matters

    If the rules and entry costs are similar to that of Apple's self repair kits or 3rd party payments it'll just a veiled farce.

    btw. Apple will still keep the platform key and will be able to revoke access from non-compliant store so all that security talk is missing the point. And likely they'll provide option to lock 3rd party store access for worried parents (not like internet was not full of s...t their kids could play with all day).

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