Huge changes could be on the horizon for iPhone users after the Japanese government recently expressed its desire to enforce limitations on how Apple and Google handle their app ecosystem. Apple, for example, could be prevented from forcing users to only download applications through the App Store.
Google allows users to download any APK file they find strewn across the internet, but Apple is a little more strict. Developers need to have their application uploaded to the App Store in order for it to be downloadable on iPhone and iPad devices, but with some of the pressure Apple is facing from numerous governments, this could change soon.
iPhone could change forever with these OS regulations
The Japan Times claims that the government is drafting up these regulations to increase competition for both Google and Apple. These regulations will include a specific set of rules on smartphones in general, not just Apple or Google, and what's prohibited within those mobile operating systems. These regulations will be submitted some time next year.
Unless the change results in other stores being gradually introduced into the mix, it's unlikely most users will feel this change heavily. But it could be a huge deal for the average developer; they could find alternate avenues of making money from their applications.
Apple takes 30% of every App Store purchase from developers, and in the case of subscriptions, they drop down to 15% after the initial purchase. While it seems unlikely that huge companies like Netflix or Spotify will remove its apps from App Store to make extra money, it could give these companies a chance to compete if they'd like to try.
This isn't the first time Apple has come under fire from a government agency, as the European Union is also pushing for the company to include alternative application stores on its devices. If this becomes common in enough countries, we could see Google and Apple's exclusive ecosystem turn to dust.
On the other hand, most users are so accustomed to Google Play and the App Store, it's difficult to imagine them being one-upped by third-party application stores. For comparison, plenty of game stores still exist on PC, yet Steam is still the first choice and most developers try to get their games on it, even though Valve similarly charges a steep 30% per sale.
We don't know what Japan's list of regulations looks like quite yet, but we're expecting it'll continue to shake up Apple and Google's closed ecosystem over the next few years.
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Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.