Apple iPhones and iPads gained a new feature to similar to Android called app "sideloading", allowing people to install software from outside of the App Store.
The intent is for people to build and test their own iOS apps using Xcode, the integrated developer environment (IDE) used to create software for Apple devices. In the latest beta for Xcode 7, Apple has made it easier to do so.
It's cheaper too: You don't need to be a member of the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 per year, according to the Xcode website.
"Xcode 7 and Swift now make it easier for everyone to build apps and run them directly on their Apple devices. Simply sign in with your Apple ID, and turn your idea into an app that you can touch on your iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch. Download Xcode 7 beta and try it yourself today. Program membership is not required."
PocketGamer was among the first to notice the change and was quick to point out that if you have an application's source code, you can build the app and push it to your iOS device, effectively sideloading the software. Don't expect to use Xcode 7 to get paid App Store apps for free though; you'll need that all-important source code.
As a simple proof of concept, Bouke van der Bijl published a short tutorial on how this works, using an open source GameBoy emulator as an example.
Emulators aren't allowed in the official App Store, but with Xcode 7 that's not a problem.
Provided you develop your own app or build one from someone else's source, you can completely bypass the App Store.
Again, the intent here is to make it easier for developers to test software on their own phone , tablet or Apple Watch. And the next Xcode 7 beta accomplishes that.
It also gives a tool, however, for the tech savvy and jailbreak crowd to run a wider range of iOS apps from outside the App Store, similar to how Android allows for installing third-party apps from outside the Play Store.
The Xcode approach is a bit more of a hassle than Android's built-in sideloading -- users just have to check a box on Android -- but it still could be handy.
Even better, it won't cost you a dime.