With the EU’s proposed
Digital Markets Act threatening to force the company to allow apps to be installed on iPhones from sources other than the App Store, Apple has started to sweat. As usual, its response to a perceived obstacle is to fire up the PR machine.
The executive charged with leading the charm offensive is Craig Federighi, Apple’s affable senior vice president of software engineering, who has given a speech at the
Web Summit 2021 conference in Lisbon. In the speech, reports
The Verge, Craig Federighi warned of the consequences of opening iOS up to ‘sideloading’.
“Sideloading is a cybercriminal’s best friend,” he argued, “and requiring that on iPhone would be a gold rush for the malware industry.”
The executive cited children and elderly users who are not very tech-savvy as an argument for continuing to allow Apple to lock iPhone owners into the App Store. “The fact that anyone can be harmed by malware isn’t something that we should stand for,” he said.
Curiously, he made no mention of the dangers on the App Store itself: such as the
scams where users have been swindled out of millions of dollars for pointless and hideously priced subscriptions. We learned earlier this year that Phil Schiller complained about the dodgy apps on the App Store
as early as 2012, and it still doesn’t seem to have been conclusively solved. “Is no one minding the store?” he raged at the time.
Federighi also warned that “some social networking apps” may choose to distribute themselves solely outside the App Store, thereby circumventing Apple’s “pesky privacy protections”.
Again, he left something out: the bulk of privacy protections in iOS are in the operating system software itself, and can thus take action against apps that come from unofficial sources.
Of course, the obvious advantage of App Store installations as far as Apple is concerned is the cut it takes from the price. The job it now faces is to convince everyone that the other benefits justify that money.
This article originally appeared on
Macworld Sweden. Translation (using
DeepL) and additional reporting by David Price.