Apple and the Digital Market Act: What You Need to Know

In a groundbreaking move, Apple is gearing up to implement the requirements of the European Commission’s Digital Market Act by March 6, 2024. This mandate includes a significant change: third-party providers will now be permitted to offer their own app stores on the iPhone. However, it’s important to note that this allowance does not extend to the iPad, Apple Watch, Vision Pro, or Apple TV. Apple has historically opposed such legislative mandates, citing security concerns. However, a key driving factor behind their compliance may be the reduction in commission earnings from app sales.

iOS 17.4 Release and What It Means for Users

Apple recently unveiled the first release candidate of iOS 17.4 for registered developers. Public beta users are expected to receive the new build within the next 24 hours. Barring any major issues, this release candidate will likely become the final version, set for release next week. Additionally, updates for iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and visionOS are in the pipeline.

Innovations and Changes in iOS 17.4

One of the most notable changes is the introduction of third-party app stores for EU users, marking a significant shift in Apple’s policies. Moreover, alternative browsers with their own engines will now be tolerated in the App Store. However, these features will only be accessible to EU citizens. Other innovations in iOS 17.4 include new emojis, podcast transcription, enhanced iPhone theft protection, a revamped battery health display, and Siri’s ability to read messages in supported languages.

Release Date and What to Expect

With the deadline for compliance with the Digital Market Act looming, Apple is expected to release the new iOS version for all users by March 6th. This suggests a potential release date of March 4th or 5th. Given that only release candidates for iOS and iPadOS 17.4 have been issued, it’s unlikely that macOS 14.4, watchOS 10.4, tvOS 17.4, and visionOS 1.1 will be released next week.

Considerations Before Installing iOS 17.4

iOS 17.4 brings several critical changes to support third-party app stores. If you’re hesitant to try out these alternative stores immediately, it might be wise to wait a few days to see if Apple addresses any potential issues that could arise.


FAQs

  1. Will these changes affect users outside the EU?
    • No, these features are exclusive to EU citizens.
  2. Can I still use the App Store as before?
    • Yes, the App Store remains accessible as usual.
  3. Are there any risks associated with third-party app stores?
    • While Apple is implementing security measures, there’s always a risk with third-party sources.
  4. What happens if Apple doesn’t comply with the Digital Market Act?
    • Failure to comply could result in significant penalties from the European Commission.
  5. Will these changes impact the prices of apps?
    • There’s no indication of price changes at this time.

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