See how iPhone apps could change if Apple loses its DOJ antitrust fight

See how iPhone apps could change if Apple loses its DOJ antitrust fight
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App Store and other apps are displayed on a dark-themed iPhone screen.
Apple’s App Store has new competitors coming for it as part of EU actions to increase competition. The AltStore could give a glimpse into how iPhone apps could change.

  • New app store AltStore could be coming to iPhones in the EU after to 2024 regional rule changes.
  • The Apple App Store rival aims to give developers more control over app distribution and payment. 
  • AltStore offers a peek into how iPhone apps could change in the US if Apple loses a DOJ lawsuit. 

A new app store coming to iPhones in the EU provides a glimpse into what changes iPhone users in the US can expect if the Department of Justice wins its antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

AltStore is a third-party app store that seeks to be an alternative to Apple’s default. The rival comes after the EU brought in the Digital Markets Act this year, which aims to promote fair competition in the digital marketplace — and which forced Apple to crack open its App Store in January and to allow iPhone owners in the region to use alternative stores.

Users who want to use the AltStore shouldn’t expect a massive change, though.

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“It all works virtually the same as the App Store now,” Riley Testut, the developer of AltStore, told TechCrunch regarding his product.

One difference, however, is that AltStore is designed with the goal of creating a marketplace that gives developers control over their apps’ deployment. While Apple must approve apps before putting them in its own store, AltStore allows developers to upload their mobile software without review for immediate distribution, according to the company.

Additionally, it appears to cost developers less money. Apple’s in-app subscriptions typically come with a 15% to 30% commission fee on sales that goes to the tech giant. AltStore, however, says it doesn’t take a cut. Instead, developers can include a custom Patreon integration to market their apps directly to iPhone users. That way, developers can monetize their offerings without ads, paid downloads, and in-app purchases. They’ll also be able to use the same Patreon integration to distribute ‘paid’ apps, Testut told TechCrunch.

Apple still needs to approve the AltStore before it becomes widely available in the EU, Testut told TechCrunch. And once it does, iPhone users in the region will be able to download apps like Delta, a Nintendo game emulator, and Dolphin, a GameCube and Wii emulator, among others, according to the AltStore website.

Delta, an app on AltStore
Delta, a Nintendo emulator, will be available on AltStore once launched.

The emergence of the AltStore after the launch of the DMA also hints at what potential US iPhone changes could look like if Apple loses its battle with the DOJ. US regulators are suing the tech giant, accusing it of using anti-competitive practices to dominate the smartphone market.

“I believe there’s a strong possibility we’d see entirely new iOS apps appear that can’t exist today due to Apple’s rules, especially from independent developers,” Testut, the developer behind AltStore, previously told Business Insider regarding the lawsuit. The DOJ has accused Apple of not permitting cross-platform apps, locking users into the company’s ecosystem.

Industry leaders say if Apple lost to the DOJ, it could result in lower prices, cheaper streaming subscription services, more tap-to-pay options, smartwatch options, and an improved Android-iPhone texting experience.

Not everyone believes these iPhone changes would be good for consumers. Apple, which denies the allegations made in the lawsuit, says it would create a less secure user experience.

“This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets,” Apple told BI in March. “If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple—where hardware, software, and services intersect.”

AltStore and Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider before publication. Testut declined to comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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