Apple EU Digital Markets Act updates Apple EU Digital Markets Act updates

Apple Unveils Major App Ecosystem Changes in the EU

In a groundbreaking announcement, Apple has introduced sweeping changes to its iOS, Safari, and App Store in the European Union. These updates, driven by the Digital Markets Act (DMA) compliance, bring over 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics, and enhanced functionality for alternative browser engines and app payments. Despite addressing privacy concerns, the modifications open up new possibilities for developers, albeit with some associated risks.

Key Changes

iOS Enhancements

Apple is empowering developers in the EU with new options for distributing iOS apps through alternative app marketplaces. The changes include:

  • New APIs: Developers can now create alternative app marketplaces with dedicated APIs for app distribution.
  • Alternative Browser Engines: iOS now supports alternative browser engines beyond WebKit.
  • Interoperability Request Form: Developers can submit requests for interoperability with iPhone and iOS features.

To counter potential threats, Apple introduces safeguards like Notarization for iOS apps and authorization for marketplace developers. These measures aim to mitigate risks associated with malware, fraud, scams, and privacy breaches.

Safari Updates

Safari in iOS 17.4 introduces a choice screen for EU users, complying with DMA requirements. Users will now select their default browser from a list of options upon opening Safari. This change, driven by DMA, aims to enhance user choice but may impact the initial browsing experience.

App Store Transformations

Apple unveils significant changes for EU developers on the App Store, offering:

  • New Payment Options: Developers can now utilize payment service providers (PSPs) and link-out for processing payments.
  • Business Planning Tools: Tools for developers to estimate fees and understand metrics under new business terms.
  • User Disclosures: Enhanced product page labels and in-app disclosure sheets inform users of alternative payment processing.

Business Terms for EU Apps

Apple introduces new business terms for EU apps, giving developers the choice to adopt these terms or stick to existing ones. Key elements include:

  • Reduced Commission: A reduced commission of either 10% or 17% on transactions for digital goods and services.
  • Payment Processing Fee: A 3% fee for using the App Store’s payment processing.
  • Core Technology Fee: A €0.50 fee per install for apps distributed from the App Store or alternative marketplaces.

To assist developers in decision-making, Apple provides a fee calculator tool and new reports to estimate the impact of the new business terms on app businesses.

Balancing Innovation and Security

While Apple acknowledges the inherent risks associated with these changes, the company strives to strike a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring platform security. Notarization processes, app installation sheets, and authorization requirements aim to minimize potential threats, providing users with a secure experience.

Rollout and User Guidance

These transformative updates are set to roll out in March 2024, and Apple plans to share comprehensive resources, including guidance for users to navigate the evolving landscape and best practices for addressing new risks.

In essence, Apple’s commitment to DMA compliance reflects its dedication to delivering the best, most secure experience for users in the EU while fostering innovation and choice for developers. These changes mark a significant step forward in the evolution of Apple’s app ecosystem within the European market.

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