The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that an antitrust case against Apple could move forward effectively allowing iPhone users to sue the company. The crux of the argument is that Apple only allows apps to be sold on its store and that it takes a 30 percent commission, which inflates the prices.
When I first heard about the ruling, I thought about two things: 1. What is Apple providing to us with the App Store? 2. What would happen if you could download apps anywhere and install them on your iPhone?
I think most people believe Apple is merely providing a service with the App Store that gives us a convenient place to download the apps and for developers to sell their products. That’s undoubtedly true, but it goes a lot deeper than that.
Through its system of rigorous review of all apps submitted to the App Store, Apple makes sure that everything we download is safe and secure for us to use. That is the most significant benefit of the App Store for me.
We see every day how unsafe the Internet is in a lot of different ways. Being able to download a simple app and not have to worry about being spied on or having some malicious code installed that will make my device less secure is imperative to me and should be critically important to everybody.
It’s also essential to Apple as we’ve seen from their privacy stance over the years with their hardware and software products.
Apple does not dictate the price of apps in its store—the developers set prices. The App Store is a platform and Apple is providing a service that goes far beyond an e-commerce portal for developers to sell apps.
There are plenty of free apps available in the App Store and many others that are $0.99. If anything, the apps are priced too low, not too high, but developers are setting the price based on what people will spend and hope the volume of purchases make up the difference.
We’ve come to a point as consumers where many don’t value the work developers do daily to make the products we use. Consumers value free and scoff at paying $0.99 for an app, even if they find it useful.
Allowing apps to be downloaded and installed from anywhere may lower prices, but it will certainly raise security concerns. The sad thing is that when someone gets hacked because they installed one of these malicious apps, the headline won’t be that they voluntarily installed an app that wasn’t secure, it will be “iPhone Hacked” or some other stupidity.
I will always buy my apps from the App Store because I trust what Apple is doing with its ecosystem. I want to be secure, and I want a company that values my privacy to be in charge of the apps I download and use.