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What just happened? When the European Commission passed the Digital Markets Act (DMA) earlier this year, aimed at compelling tech giants to open up their platforms, it focused primarily on the iPhone’s operating system. Surprisingly, it excluded iPadOS from these regulations until now, despite its close ties to iOS. It took the Commission weeks to draft a separate decision specifically covering Apple’s tablet software.

The European Commission has confirmed that it will subject iPadOS to the same new rules that recently compelled Apple to allow unofficial app download methods on iOS. Unsurprisingly, Epic Games welcomed the decision and pledged to reintroduce Fortnite for Apple’s tablet later this year.

Under Europe’s recently passed DMA, large platforms must ensure a certain level of interoperability and are no longer permitted to confine users and developers within closed ecosystems. Apple complied with the law by allowing iPhone users in EU countries to use distribution platforms other than the official Apple App Store and download software directly through web browsers. Additionally, the Cupertino giant globally permitted retro game emulators.

Epic will relaunch Fortnite on iPad, Apple ordered to open up iPadOS in the EU

After this week’s decision, Apple will likely implement the same changes for iPad apps. EU regulators have given the company six months to adhere to DMA rules, much to the delight of Epic.

Fortnite developer Epic Games has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle against Apple’s closed-platform policy, resulting in the game being banned from Apple’s mobile platforms. Epic wasted no time in seizing the opportunity presented by the new EU policies.

Apple attempted to ban Epic from iOS for the second time in March but quickly reversed course. Epic plans to reintroduce Fortnite for iOS, making it playable natively on the platform for the first time in years. The company confirmed that an iPad edition will follow before the end of 2024.

This news comes a week before Apple is expected to unveil new iPad models at an upcoming showcase. Rumors suggest that the company will introduce new iPad Pro and iPad Air models at the May 7 event. The updated iPad Pro variants might feature the first-ever OLED screens for iPads and as-of-yet-unannounced M4 processors. Moreover, the M4 series will reportedly signify Apple’s shift toward on-device AI. The company will likely outline its plans for generative AI at WWDC in June.

[ For more curated Apple news, check out the main news page here]

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