Apple’s worst-case scenario might be the best thing for the iPhone
If you want to see what the exclusive iOS Store could look like in the future, consider the App Store.
Unlike the Mac App Store, the iOS App Store has been a central part of the iOS experience and has been since its inception. I can't imagine it won't stay that way, even though it's no longer the only game in town.
How about the Mac App Store ... well? It's just necessary. For example if you need ipad app to scan documents. The pressure is gone. Don't want to submit your app to the Mac App Store? Apple agrees.
But it's more than that: Apple pays special attention to applications that are not in the App Store. In recent years, it has reached out to developers who aren't in business, asking them why they aren't doing it and changing their policies and technology to accommodate them. Apple invented a new set of app permissions (a system that allows apps to ask for permission to do certain things) to get more complex apps into the Mac App Store. This is a useful feedback loop. Apple monitors the Mac platform, sees something interesting, and then (if it wants to) adjusts the macOS and App Store rules to get those things into its Store. Imagine this happening on iOS.
What if Apple decides it doesn't want this stuff or can't find a way to make it work in the Mac App Store model? This is good. Macs benefit from many apps that Apple may or may not add to the App Store. The Mac is stronger because it has these apps, even though they aren't officially part of Apple's vision. A more powerful Mac matches Apple.
Threats and Opportunities
When it is possible to install iOS applications through something other than the App Store, the question of security arises. Apple wrote a white paper about the dangers of downloaded apps.
You are not wrong. Sideloading apps on iOS makes it a less secure platform. Therefore, users may have to disable several security features and see scary warning windows to enable them. In recent years, however, Apple has built new mechanisms into MacOS to make it more secure, even if the software is not only from the Mac App Store. You can set your Mac to run only apps from the Mac App Store, or be less secure and run apps from other sources.
Even if a Mac app isn't from the App Store, Apple still has some control over it. Apps signed by a registered developer that have gone through a "notary system" run by Apple are considered less secure than the App Store, but safer than unsigned apps of uncertain origin. There's an effective middle ground here where Apple doesn't act as a gatekeeper, but can instead force users to lower their security settings, warn them the first time they launch such an app, and kill the app and/or developer while it's running. . . dangerous or bad.
No, this theme isn't as secure as iOS today, but it's not a bad deal either!
It seems Apple is determined to fight changes to its app store model at all costs. However, there comes a day when the company realizes that it has to make a compromise - or maybe it will have to. Apple certainly believes in avoiding shady options.
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