Monday, April 5, 2021

Tim Cook on Sideloading

Sami Fathi (tweet):

In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times’ Kara Swisher, on her podcast “Sway,” Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about Apple’s feud with Facebook, its stance on privacy, Apple’s legal battle with Epic Games, and possible future Apple innovations such as Apple Glasses.


One of Epic Games’ biggest arguments about the Apple ecosystem is the lack of so-called “freedom” for users to download apps from places other than the App Store. Many have long voiced their hope that Apple would allow users to sideload apps onto their device, such as the iPhone. Cook says that sideloading apps, however, would “break the privacy and security” model of the iPhone.


Update (2021-04-14): Joe Rossignol:

Notably, Cook said that Epic Games’ desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps “would make the App Store a flea market”:

At the heart of the Epic complaint is they’d like developers to each put in their own payment information. But that would make the App Store a flea market and you know the confidence level you have at the flea market.

The volume of people going into such a market would be dramatically lower, which would be bad for the user, because they would miss out on the innovation like we just heard with the four developers. And the developers would be left out because they wouldn’t have a huge audience to sell to. So nobody wins in that environment.

This is some preztel logic. Of course, there are already lots of apps where customers enter payment information—just not apps selling certain kinds of digital services where Apple prohibits that.

Apple’s dictionary defines a flea market as “a market, typically outdoors, selling secondhand goods,” and the term comes from the idea that the resold items may be infested with fleas. Does an app become secondhand when you buy it directly from the developer rather than through Apple? Does Tim Cook think Apple is making sure there are no bugs?

Kosta Eleftheriou:

Apple has turned the magic of software development from “How cool would this be?” to “How cool would Apple be with this?”

That’s an environment of software suppression, not innovation.

Florian Mueller:

Sooner than I’d have thought, here’s my first follow-up to the publication of the summaries of Apple’s expert witness reports in the Epic Games v. Apple App Store antitrust case.

When I read those summaries for the first time, I tweeted about some of the statements I found in them. This is my tweet about the claim that Apple couldn’t support alternative app stores without not only software but even hardware changes.

Update (2021-04-22): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Then have the App Store approve Apps on "privacy and security" not on ideology. Apple still hiding behind privacy and security while dictating world wide thoughts on App Store.

This is utter bull - if sideloading apps would break the iOS “privacy and security”, then it is already utterly broken, since it is clear that it is trivially easy to get scam apps through app review,

The fact is, privacy and security is maintained by system level control that is entirely independent of App Review and the App Store - any failing that a sideloaded app could take advantage of would also be exploitable via the App Store.

The lack of sideloading, and the App Store and App Review stop nothing related to privacy and security. The lack of sideloading is there to protect Apple’s interests, not their customers.

Old Unix Geek

What Ed & Peter said.

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