Apple DMA Changes & an impaktfull AppStore

Koen Van Looveren


An image that is split in half, one half is the appstore logo & the other half is the impaktfull logo

In a significant turn of events, Apple recently announced a series of changes to iOS, Safari, and the App Store within the European Union. These adjustments, made in response to the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA), mark a pivotal moment in the tech industry, particularly in the realm of app development and distribution. At Impaktfull, we've been closely monitoring these developments, understanding their profound impact on our operations and the broader market.

Understanding the EU's DMA Requirements

The DMA is designed to ensure that tech giants like Apple do not monopolize certain aspects of their offerings, fostering a competitive and fair digital market. A critical aspect of the DMA is enabling developers to sideload applications, a practice long available on Android but significantly restricted on Apple's iOS platform.

The Current iOS App Testing Process

Currently, installing apps outside the App Store is a cumbersome process involving the use of Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) and provisioning profiles. Clients and testers must send their device's UDID to Impaktfull, which is then added to a provisioning profile to allow app installation. This process, while necessary, is far from user-friendly, especially when adding new devices for testing.

The Potential of an Impaktfull AppStore

Imagine a world where the Impaktfull AppStore exists, making the testing and installation of mobile applications a breeze for our clients. This vision becomes even more appealing with the possibility of Apple allowing sideloading. An Impaktfull-branded app store, with its clean user experience and interface, could transform app installations. It would not only ease the current process but also introduce innovative features to enhance app build installations.

Comparative Analysis: Android vs. iOS

Android has long allowed for the straightforward installation of apps through APK files, showcasing a level of flexibility and openness not found in Apple's ecosystem. The DMA requirements promised a similar opportunity for iOS, potentially enabling sideloading and easing the installation of IPA files. However, Apple's recent announcement paints a different picture.

Critique of Apple's Response to the DMA

Apple's approach to DMA compliance raises several concerns, particularly for emerging developers and platforms like the Impaktfull AppStore. The requirement of a substantial financial guarantee, specifically a stand-by letter of credit amounting to €1,000,000, poses a significant barrier. Additionally, the Core Technology Fee of €0.50 for each first annual install of a marketplace app further burdens marketplace developers, highlighting the costs of using Apple's technology and services. Next to that Apple will still do review of your applications which will limit your testing flow even more.

Voices from the Coalition for App Fairness

Adding to these complexities, the Coalition for App Fairness – comprising major companies like Spotify, Epic Games, Tile, and – has voiced serious concerns. They challenge Apple's published terms and conditions for marketplace developers, labeling them potentially illegal. This contention underscores the broader issue of how big tech's compliance measures might still stifle innovation and market freedom, a concern central to Impaktfull's mission and our stakeholders.

Reflecting on Impaktfull's Journey

The Impaktfull AppStore concept, born from the potential shifts in the iOS app distribution model, remains an innovative yet evolving vision. As we traverse this new terrain, the legal and regulatory complexities become increasingly apparent. The Coalition for App Fairness's criticisms of Apple's terms and conditions underscore the unpredictable nature of this journey.

Conclusion: Balancing Innovation with Caution

At Impaktfull, we are committed to pioneering new solutions in app distribution while navigating the dynamic legal landscape with caution and diligence. The Impaktfull AppStore concept represents not just a technological advancement but also an exercise in adapting to regulatory shifts.

Stay Informed: Ongoing Updates and Insights

As we continue to explore this exciting yet challenging new frontier, we invite you to join us. Stay updated with the latest developments, insights, and progress on the Impaktfull AppStore concept through our communications. Together, we will venture into this new era of app distribution, armed with innovation and informed by regulation.

Further Reading:

Impaktfull + Flutter = Love

How Flutter is Redefining App Development

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A love letter to Open-Source

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