Apple Drops NFT Functionality, Social Posts Increase With App Store Rules • TechCrunch

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Apple released software updates — iOS 16.1, iPad OS 16.1 and macOS Ventura — to all users on Monday. It also presented new App Store rules which limit the features unlocked through NFTs and require apps to use Apple’s payment method to purchase “boosts” for social media posts.

NFT

The company said the apps are allowed to list, coin and transfer, as well as allow users to view their own NFTs (non-fungible tokens). However, NFT ownership should not unlock additional features in the app. Additionally, these apps may allow users to view other collections, but they must not display external links, buttons, or calls to action to purchase NFTs. Users can only buy NFTs through Apple’s in-app payment system.

The company also prohibits apps from using other mechanisms, such as QR codes or cryptocurrencies, to grant special access to users.

“Applications cannot use their own mechanisms to unlock content or features such as license keys, augmented reality tokens, QR codes, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency wallets, etc.,” it said.

Industry insiders have noted that these changes could have serious functionality implications web3 dependent applications (including games) in the Apple ecosystem. Until now, they could have been used by NFTs as a way to circumvent Apple’s App Store fees and at the same time as a token or key to unlock features for users — but this will no longer be allowed.

Notably, Meta has begun rolling out features for users showcase their NFTs on both Instagram and Facebook. The company also expressed a desire to open a marketplace for artists to sell their digital creations. But the move from Apple means it may have to pay App Store fees if the marketplace is available on iOS.

Crypto exchange

The company is also cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges, as it now requires them to have “appropriate licenses and permits to provide cryptocurrency exchanges” in all regions where they operate. Therefore, Apple now has the right to remove crypto exchanges from the local App Store if it deems the application illegal for that region.

Social networks increase

With the new App Store rules, Apple said marketers don’t need to use in-app purchases to manage and buy campaigns across different types of media, such as TV, apps and outdoor. However, they will have to use Apple’s in-app purchases system to buy bonuses for social media posts. This will only apply to apps that offer in-app tools for promoting posts. That means Apple will take a cut of those sales, which could lead to higher platform fees.

This could affect companies like Meta, TikTok and Tinder that offer in-app promotions.

Other changes

  • Apple has now included terms that profit from current events, such as “violent conflicts, terrorist attacks, and epidemics,” under the objectionable content section.
  • Apple also adds hookup apps or programs “that may include pornography or be used to facilitate prostitution or human trafficking and exploitation” under the objectionable content section.
  • The company prohibits apps from using music from iTunes or Apple Music as a soundtrack to a game or as background music for a video or photo collage.
  • Smart home applications that support the Matter IoT standard must use Apple’s support infrastructure to initiate pings.
  • Developers must provide full access to App Store reviewers through an active demo account or demo mode so that they can test the functionality of the account.

Over the past few years, Apple has had to lower App Store fees and allow third-party payment systems to make in-app purchases in many regions around the world. With these new rules, the company has added new possible ways to make money with the App Store. These changes also brought back concerns about Apple anti-competitive practice and her tight control about how apps do business in the App Store.

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