iPhone users don't care about sideloading

"If you want to sideload, you can buy an Android phone."
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Well, there we have it. The Apple CEO has said it. If you want to sideload apps on a smartphone, buy an Android.

Speaking at The New York Times "DealBook" summit, Cook set out the battle lines:

"I think that people have that choice today, Andrew, if you want to sideload, you can buy an Android phone. That choice exists when you go into the carrier shop. If that is important to you, then you should buy an Android phone. From our point of view, it would be like if I were an automobile manufacturer telling [customers] not to put airbags and seat belts in the car. He would never think about doing this in today's time. It's just too risky to do that. And so, it would not be an iPhone if it didn't maximize security and privacy."

Putting aside the fact that the bulk of the automobile industry fought tooth and nail to not have to fit seatbelts and airbags, this is Apple flat out telling users who want the ability to sideload apps to buy an Android smartphone.

And this is happening at a time when there are a lot of legal and governmental eyes on Apple's App Store practices, and how iPhone users buy and download apps.

Sideloading would allow iPhone owners the ability to bypass the Apple App Store and get their apps via a third party.

While I'm all for giving users options, I think Cook is right here.

The App Store offers a safe, convenient one-stop-shop for apps.

But there's more than that.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of iPhone users won't care one jot about sideloading.


Not a jot.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet a steak dinner (or vegetarian equivalent) that the number of Android users who sideload is a tiny drop in the ocean.

It's a bit like iOS jailbreaking. Yes, there are people who do jailbreak, and who find it useful to be able to do so, but there's no need to exaggerate how widespread it is.

It's a tiny fraction of iPhone users.

In fact, the people who seem to care the most about this are those who own multibillion-dollar corporations who either are unhappy about Apple making money from the App Store or who are unhappy that Apple doesn't give them unfettered access to user's data.

Changes made to iOS in recent months have companies that trade in user data -- such as Facebook -- worried. Being able to bypass Apple's App Store rules would allow companies better and deeper access to user data.

And it's hard to frame that in a way that makes it sound good for users.

I agree with Cook. If users want to sideload, let them go to Android.

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