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EU is pushing Apple to make yet another change in iPhones

Apple CEO Tim Cook is currently facing challenges from just two letters: EU, standing for the European Union. The EU’s Common Charger law compelled Apple to swap the exclusive Lightning port for USB-C globally on the iPhone. Another EU initiative, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), prompted Apple to declare its plans to incorporate Rich Communication Services (RCS) support into the iPhone later this year, with indications that this change will have a global impact.

Thanks to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple is now compelled to permit iPhone users in the 27 EU member countries to sideload third-party apps, overturning its previous policy. Apple traditionally prohibited sideloading to prevent users from inadvertently installing malware. With this change in the EU, the responsibility to safeguard iPhones from infected apps will now shift to the device owners themselves.

Even though it might seem like a good move, folks who aren’t well-versed in things like malware and trojans (not the Trojan protection kind, but a sneaky app disguising itself like the mythical Trojan Horse) might find their bank accounts drained or their iPhone’s performance taking a hit. It’s worth noting that sideloading will only be available in the 27 EU member countries.

Due to the recent push from the EU, Apple had to declare that it will unlock the on-device NFC technology on the iPhone for third-party payment platforms. This means companies outside of Apple in the 27 EU countries can provide contactless payment options for iPhone users, posing competition to Apple Pay.

Apple told The Wall Street Journal, “Through our ongoing discussions with the European Commission, we have offered commitments to provide third-party developers in the European Economic Area with an option that will enable their users to make NFC contactless payments from within their iOS apps, separate from Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.”

Just like the sideloading situation, it’s anticipated that Apple will greenlight third-party NFC contactless payment systems for iPhones exclusively in the EU. Apple has made it clear that these third-party mobile payment services won’t be integrated into the Wallet app or Apple Pay.

Apple is obliged to grant access to the iPhone’s on-device NFC technology for a decade, and if it fails to comply, it faces a hefty fine equivalent to 10% of the company’s global revenue. For Apple, considering its fiscal 2023 revenue, that penalty would be a substantial $38.3 billion.