According to Bloomberg, Apple may be changing its approach to app distribution on iPhones with the release of iOS 17. The company is reportedly building the groundwork for allowing sideloading of apps, which would allow users to download apps from sources other than the App Store. This potential change in policy could be announced at the upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, as reported by Mark Gurman in his newsletter.
This shift in Apple’s approach to app distribution may be influenced by the EU’s Digital Market Act (DMA), which requires big tech companies to allow alternative app stores on their platforms starting in 2024. While it remains unclear if Apple will actually implement sideloading with iOS 17 or make changes at the operating system level to enable it in the future, this report suggests that the company may be considering this option.
Apple has historically opposed sideloading, citing privacy and security concerns. However, with the potential regulatory changes in Europe and increasing demand from developers and users for more flexibility in app distribution, Apple may be reevaluating its stance.
In addition to the potential sideloading update, Bloomberg’s report also mentioned that Apple will announce updates to iOS, macOS, and tvOS at WWDC. While these updates are expected to be incremental, watchOS might receive a significant design overhaul.
All eyes will also be on Apple’s rumored unveiling of its first XR headset at WWDC, which will reportedly focus on developers. Along with the headset, the company is expected to release a new operating system and software development kit (SDK) that will provide developers with the tools to create apps for the new headset.