So Much for "Just a Big iPhone"

iPad Users Will Miss Out on Third-Party App Stores, Browser Engines, Etc
The DMA compliance gets even more convoluted

By now, we've all read about the changes Apple is making in order to give the middle finger to ensure compliance with the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules. But here's one wild new wrinkle:

There’s one piece of nuance that Apple is now clarifying. 

Some of these changes are coming to all of Apple’s platforms, while others are coming only to the iPhone and not the iPad.

There is reason for this nuance. Apple explains that the European Union ruled that iOS is a gatekeeper platform as part of the Digital Markets Act. This applies only to iOS on the iPhone. iPadOS on the iPad is a completely different platform in the eyes of Apple and the European Commission. 

While the iPhone and iPad are clearly two separate products, this is nuts. Obviously, the two devices have a lot in common – including, of course, iOS (which was later renamed to 'iPadOS' for those devices, but is effectively the same OS). But because the EU has decided that the iPad doesn't dominate its market in the same way that the iPhone does (the reality is that the iPad probably dominates its market more than the iPhone does, it's just not a market the EU seems to care about), Apple can continue doing as it pleases with that product. Which means, for iPad: one App Store to rule them all, one App Store to find them, one App Store to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.1

Also, one web browser engine. No browser choice pop-up, so effectively, one web browser. One default NFC instance in the Wallet app. The iPad stays the same (aside from some universal tweaks to the App Store), while the iPhone changes.

Of course, the iPhone isn't likely to change much either as many of Apple's proposed changes for that device all but ensure that developers aren't going to move away from the status quo – in part because it's even more unlikely that consumers are going to move on from the status quo. And certainly not ones (like myself) that use both an iPhone and iPad. These changes would make the experience of using those two devices – again, tied together by a common OS – so different.


1 Jokes aside, I think it's going to be a confusing mess to have multiple app stores on any of these devices. So much so that I don't expect there to actually be multiple app stores. I'm in favor of changes to the App Store -- as I have been for years -- not multiple app stores.