MacPaw, a software company known for its popular Mac apps, has announced that it will launch its subscription-based app platform Setapp on iPhone in the EU. This move will make Setapp the first alternative app store for iPhone users in the region, offering them access to hundreds of curated apps for a fixed monthly fee.
The expansion of Setapp to iPhone comes at a time when the EU is introducing new regulations and policies that will affect the iOS ecosystem, such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework.
In this article, we will explore what Setapp is, how it differs from the App Store, and what benefits it can bring to both users and developers in the EU.
What is MacPaw’s Setapp?
Setapp is a service that provides users with unlimited access to a collection of high-quality apps for Mac, iOS, and iPadOS. Users can download and use any app from the Setapp catalog without ads, in-app purchases, or additional fees. Setapp currently offers over 200 apps across various categories, such as productivity, creativity, education, entertainment, and more. Some of the popular apps available on Setapp include Ulysses, CleanMyMac, Gemini, MindNode, PDFpen, and iStat Menus.
Setapp was launched by MacPaw in 2017 as an alternative to the traditional app distribution model, where users have to pay for each app individually, often with recurring subscriptions or hidden costs. Setapp aims to simplify the app discovery and usage process, by offering users a single subscription that covers all their app needs. Setapp also benefits developers, who can reach a wider audience and earn a fair share of the revenue based on the usage of their apps.
Changes Coming to iOS, Safari, and App Store in the EU
The EU has recently proposed a new legislation called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to ensure fair and open competition in the digital sector. The DMA will impose a set of obligations and prohibitions on large online platforms that act as gatekeepers, such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Some of the rules that will affect the iOS platform include:
- Allowing users to uninstall any pre-installed app or software
- Allowing users to choose their default web browser, search engine, and app store
- Allowing third-party app stores and sideloading of apps
- Prohibiting self-preferencing or discriminating against competing apps or services
- Providing access to interoperability information and APIs
The DMA is expected to be adopted by the end of 2024, after a lengthy negotiation process between the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the EU. The DMA will apply to all EU member states, and any platform that fails to comply with the rules will face fines of up to 10% of their annual global turnover or periodic penalty payments of up to 5% of their daily turnover.
Another change that will impact the iOS ecosystem is the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, which was introduced by Apple in iOS 14.5. The ATT framework requires apps to obtain user consent before accessing their device’s advertising identifier (IDFA) or tracking their activity across other apps and websites. The IDFA is a unique identifier that allows advertisers to deliver personalized ads and measure their effectiveness. The ATT framework aims to give users more control and transparency over their privacy, but it also poses a challenge for developers and advertisers who rely on the IDFA for monetization and analytics.
The Launch of Setapp on iPhone in the EU
MacPaw has announced that it will expand its Setapp service to iPhone users in the EU, starting from February 2024. This will make Setapp the first alternative app store for iPhone, offering users a new way to discover and use apps on their devices. Setapp for iPhone will have the same subscription model as Setapp for Mac, iOS, and iPadOS, meaning that users can pay a single monthly fee of €9.99 to access all the apps in the Setapp catalog. Users can also opt for a family plan that allows up to six members to use Setapp on their devices for €19.99 per month.
Setapp for iPhone will have several advantages over the App Store, such as:
- No ads, in-app purchases, or hidden costs
- A curated selection of high-quality apps
- Easy installation and management of apps
- Cross-platform compatibility and synchronization
- Offline access and data privacy
Setapp for iPhone will also benefit developers, who can join the Setapp platform and distribute their apps to a large and loyal user base. Developers will not have to worry about the App Store’s 15% or 30% commission, the ATT framework, or the DMA regulations, as Setapp will handle all the technical and legal aspects of app distribution. Developers will also receive a fair share of the revenue based on the usage of their apps, which will incentivize them to create and maintain high-quality apps.
Setapp for iPhone is expected to launch with over 100 apps, covering various categories such as productivity, creativity, education, entertainment, and more. Some of the apps that will be available on Setapp for iPhone include:
- Ulysses: A powerful writing app that lets you create and edit documents, sync them across devices, and publish them to various platforms
- CleanMyMac: A comprehensive tool that helps you optimize and maintain your Mac, by removing junk files, freeing up space, and improving performance.
- Gemini: A smart app that helps you find and delete duplicate files, photos, and videos on your device, and recover valuable storage space.
- MindNode: A beautiful app that helps you create and organize mind maps, brainstorm ideas, and visualize your thoughts.
- PDFpen: A versatile app that lets you view, edit, annotate, and sign PDF documents on your device, and share them with others.
- iStat Menus: A handy app that shows you detailed information about your device’s system, such as CPU, memory, battery, network, and more.