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Apple approves AltStore PAL for EU launch at €1.50/year

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AltStore PAL, a third-party iPhone app store, has been approved by Apple and is now available for European customers using iOS 17.4 or later for €1.50/year. Developed as an alternative app marketplace specifically for independent developers, AltStore PAL addresses longstanding challenges faced by developers in traditional app stores.

EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) mandates Apple to open up its competition and help small app developers distribute apps independently of the App Store.

The app store deviates from the centralised model of app distribution by allowing developers to self-host their apps. Once Apple notarises an app, developers can upload the ‘alternative distribution packet (ADP)’ to their servers, enhancing control and flexibility over app distribution.

Users of AltStore PAL can add sources to their AltStore, enabling them to access apps from trusted developers directly. This decentralised approach ensures a diverse and curated selection of apps while promoting transparency and user choice.

To kick off its launch, AltStore PAL introduces two flagship apps: Delta, an all-in-one Nintendo emulator that will be offered free of ads, and Clip, a versatile clipboard manager available for a nominal donation of €1 or more.

EU’s Digital Markets Act mandates Apple to let third-party app store distribute apps.

AltStore PAL integrates with Patreon, providing developers with a unique monetisation model. Developers can offer apps exclusively to their patrons, unlocking features based on different Patreon tiers and fostering a direct, personal connection with users. Furthermore, by distributing their apps with Patreon, the developers can cover Apple’s €0.50-per-user Core Technology Fee (CTF).

The CTF is a payment mechanism employed by Apple. After allowing the first one million app installations for free, Apple takes a cut of every installation. However, this waiver of one million installations does not apply to alternative app stores such as AltStore.

As a result, developers who wish to publish their apps on AltStore will have to pay €0.50 per installation from the very beginning. To cover this cost, AltStore developers have decided to charge users a marginal subscription fee of €1.50 per year.

“This has been a personal dream of mine ever since I started building emulators for iOS over a decade ago, and is what my co-founder Shane Gill and I have been working towards since launching AltStore almost 5 years ago,” said Riley Testut, AltStore Pal foudner.

AltStore PAL’s success in the EU market could pave the way for similar initiatives globally, driving innovation and competition and ultimately benefiting both developers and users by expanding the horizons of app development and distribution.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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