Apple Users in the EU Now Have a New Third-Party App Store to Play With

Apple Users in the EU Now Have a New Third-Party App Store to Play With

Altstore PAL is only available to residents of the EU as part of the Digital Markets Act which dictates that Apple must allow third-party app stores.

The first Apple-approved third-party app store, Altstore PAL, is now available for download in the EU. Following the EU’s Digital Markets Act, Apple is required to allow users to install rival app stores on their iPhones. After a lengthy process, including performing various security checks, Altstore went live on Wednesday.

Altstore costs 1.50 euros (tax included) per month, to compensate for the new Apple tax on third-party app stores. Installation is pretty straightforward, although a report from The Verge states that Apple has tried to prevent users many times from choosing to install competing app stores.

Once installed, users will find two applications. The first is Clips, a clipboard manager for iOS that runs in the background and saves your clips for future use. This app requires a monthly Patreon pledge of 1 euro per month.

Another Altstore app, Delta, is a Nintendo console emulator that can emulate several different consoles, including the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, several different Game Boys, and the Nintendo DS. Delta is available for free as a thank you to users who pay to use Altstore. Emulators are also released on the regular Apple App Store. Unlike the iGBA, which received the boot from Apple a few days ago, Delta is legit and should stay in the App Store for the long haul.

Altstore is aimed at indie developers
Riley Testut, the developer of Altstore and both apps, wants Altstore to be the top destination for indie developers. The store is aimed at developers who make apps that otherwise wouldn’t make it into the App Store. Clip, one of the first two applications, will not be approved in the Apple App Store thanks to a solution used to run in the background at all times.

Altstore uses Apple’s new Web Distribution, which allows developers to more easily distribute apps to users in the EU. End users will be able to add “sources” to the Altstore, giving them more apps to browse and install. “Source” refers to developers hosting apps on their own servers. Users can add resources to the Altstore and then have more apps to download, similar to adding an RSS feed to a newsreader.

Altstore will allow paid apps
Altstore will rely on Patreon, a monetization platform that allows users to pay for original content from their favorite creators. Developers will be encouraged to use the platform primarily to offset Apple’s core technology fee, or CTF. The fee requires developers to pay 0.50 euros for the first installation per user. The user can then download the app an unlimited number of times per year. When the following year begins, the first app update, user install or reinstall will generate another 0.50 euro charge to the app developer.

Since Altstore is marketed primarily at indie developers, Patreon allows developers to communicate consistently with their users. The store is set up to allow developers to offer multiple levels of payment. End users may pay 0.50 euros for a basic installation and then pay a higher price for the premium version of the app at a later date. App developers can also charge a single subscription for access to all their apps, something the Apple App Store does not allow.

Those not in the EU can still use the store, but it requires some extra steps, including installing AltServer. The Altstore website has instructions for installation.

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