In a historic turn of events, Apple has announced fundamental changes to its iOS operating system with the upcoming update, iOS 17.4. This strategic move will mark a milestone by allowing iPhone users to install applications from alternative stores, challenging the closed structure that has characterized the iOS ecosystem since its inception.
A Monumental Change for iPhone
For the first time, iPhone users will be able to install applications from stores other than the App Store. This change not only provides developers with new opportunities but also paves the way for a greater diversity of applications in the iOS ecosystem. Companies like AltStore, Epic Games with its own Fortnite Store, and cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now are gearing up to make the most of this openness.
Ensuring Security and Privacy
Despite this new freedom, Apple does not compromise on security. All third-party applications will need to go through a rigorous notarization process, where the company will review crucial aspects such as security and privacy. However, Apple warns that some features, such as Screen Time, may not function properly when users install applications from alternative stores.
iPhone Alternative Browsers
Another significant change is the ability for browser developers to use their own web rendering engines on iOS. In addition, users will be able to choose a default browser in the initial setup of their devices, ending the automatic reign of Safari.
Expanded Payment Possibilities
The opening of the NFC module will allow payment platforms and banking entities to make the most of this technology. Users can choose their default payment platform, sharing space with Apple Pay. This could change the way we make payments from our mobile devices.
In March, Apple will officially release iOS 17.4, bringing these changes to users in the European Union. Although the company has indicated that concerns about potential fraud and scams will limit these measures to Europe, it represents a bold step by Apple. We will be attentive to how this new era in the iPhone user experience unfolds.