You probably already saw this week’s announcement of AltStore PAL from Riley Testut and Shane Gill. I promised myself I wouldn’t write more about the DMA and associated fallout until I had something interesting to say, and I felt that for the first time with AltStore.

Perceived value can vary wildly, and unfortunately, apps are often on the lower end of the perceived value scale. There’s the famous, and overused argument that people spend more on their morning coffee than they will on an app, but people think about those two purchases in entirely different ways.

Similarly, subscribing to a Patreon feels different than purchasing on the App Store. Patreon gives people a feeling of supporting a human rather than a faceless corporation, and most people feel better about that. It certainly wouldn’t feel like Apple creates all the apps if payment was through Patreon rather than the standard App Store purchase sheet, and that’s what AltStore does for paid apps.

The idea of integrating Patreon as the only source of payments in AltStore is very clever. It sidesteps many of the most thorny problems with running a storefront and even potentially lets people build a new type of app business. Many independent developers are already incredible at “being available” when customers email them, but what if you could make that part of what you’re selling? That’s what Patreon brings, and it creates opportunities to build an app business and a community at the same time. I really like the idea and it could turn out to be valuable.

Even better, Riley and Shane come at this with years of experience doing exactly that. They have been building a community around Delta for years and have built it to almost 5,000 paid subscribers.

That said, I have no idea if AltStore will work. After a promising start, Patreon growth seems to have stalled if you believe these (unverified) statistics, and there’s obviously the slice of a slice of a slice problem that comes with restricting an audience to EU residents… who know you can install alternate stores… who have installed an alternate store… who trust Patreon… and who want to subscribe to an app.

It’s also refreshing to see AltStore launch without a plan to try to take a cut of every subscription being sold through it. Yes, the store itself requires a paid subscription, but in Riley’s (abbreviated) words:

While Apple does waive the CTF for the first million installs of an app, this does not apply to app marketplaces themselves … and €1.50 is just enough to cover the CTF (+ payment processing) for our apps.

I can’t let go of my feelings about alternative app stores and sideloading, but I can say that given the situation we are in, I’m really happy that AltStore exists.

It’s also remarkable to watch Riley and Shane stick with something for ten years, through so many App Store rejections that they launched a custom side-loading App Store using developer certificates, to asking great questions at the EU DMA compliance workshop, to releasing AltStore and hitting the top of the charts in the App Store in the same week! Amazing! I can’t wait to see what happens from here.

Dave Verwer  





Framework Developer @ PSPDFKit – Design API that will affect hundreds of apps, and create UI used by millions of users. Collaborate globally in a small team working on the leading document SDK for iOS, macOS and visionOS. Make the most of a flexible schedule, and attend annual retreats at exciting places around the world. – Remote (Anywhere)

Senior iOS Engineer - Voloco @ Resonant Cavity – Voloco is the best mobile recording studio in the world! Small profitable company with an Engineering driven culture. We ship with minimal process and meetings. You’ll work closely with the founders, who still regularly commit code. – Remote (within US timezones) with some on-site work (United States in CA or MN)


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And finally...

What is radial stretching? No, it’s not something you should be doing at the gym, but part of the explanation of fisheye projection.