Given the many technological intricacies involved, and the fact that the stakes are essentially solely related to big corporations gaining more profit from their efforts, it’s understandable that the long-running Apple vs Epic Games legal drama hasn’t captured your interest. However, there is an important factor for ordinary social media users inside the case notes that many people may have overlooked – and that part witnessed a potentially significant victory today, depending on what Apple decides to do next.

Today, District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez ruled that Apple is no longer allowed to prohibit developers from including external links that direct users to third-party payment platforms from their apps.

The actual terms of the ruling are as follows:

“Apple Inc, its officers, agents, servants, employees and anyone else acting in concert or participation with them (collectively, “Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from I including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, and other calls to action that direct consumers to purchasing mechanisms in addition to In-App purchasing and (ii) compelled to include in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, and other calls to action that direct consumers to

In short, iOS applications will now be able to send users to other payment systems other than Apple’s own App Store transaction procedure, which will also mean that businesses will no longer be forced to pay Apple’s widely criticized fees on all in-app spending, as was previously the case.

This has the potential to have a significant impact on the wider “creative economy” as well as the drive across social networks to offer additional methods for users to earn money from their activities on the platform.

A breakdown of Twitter’s ticketed Spaces payment flow on iOS devices right now serves as an example of the present state of affairs:

  • Space ticket price = $5
  • 70c goes to Twitter (up to your first $50k in total earnings)
  • $1.50 goes to Apple (based on 30% cut of iOS purchases)
  • $2.80 goes to the creator

So, despite the fact that you are the host and have completed all of the work, Apple, based on current App Store processes, takes a significant portion of your earnings – and this applies not only to ticketed Spaces, but also to Super Follows, newsletter subscriptions, Facebook Live Events, and anything else that occurs in your apps where you intend to charge users while they are viewing the content.

As a result of this, it is possible that creators inside social apps will be able to generate much more money. This will make the new creator monetization drive even more successful in generating possibilities, which will in turn maximize use of the different applications and functionalities.

This, in turn, would have a significant effect on Apple’s overall income stream.

According to a recent report from Sensor Tower, the App Store generated $41.5 billion in revenue in the first half of 2021, a 22.1% increase year-on-year. Further, as per documents filed as part of the Apple vs. Epic case, gaming apps account for around 70% of App Store revenue, with the majority of that coming via in-app purchases.

Given the possibility of losing such a significant portion of its revenue, it is likely that Apple would file an appeal, which will result in the legal battle continuing for an extended period of time still. However, as of right now, and beginning on December 9th, apps will be allowed to provide other payment choices in iOS applications.

It’s impossible to comprehend the entire scope of the potential implications in this situation.

On one hand, the basic summary is that creators and developers will now be able to make more money, but the flow-on impacts of such could be massive. On an overall basis, Android is the most popular operating system in the world, so in that sense, there would be no real change, but iOS sees particularly high usage in first-world economies, where people are more likely to be spending more in-app.

To summarize, and again considering the substantial revenue that Apple generates from in-app purchases, all of that revenue will now, potentially, be re-distributed into new streams, which could fund all new platform pushes, all new income options, and could change the motivations of creator, developer, and other stakeholders.

This has the potential to set off a chain reaction of significant changes. Again, Apple is not going to sit idly by and let the judgment to stand, thus it seems extremely doubtful that the December 9th deadline will have any significance beyond this on-paper decision. However, it is a major move, and one that may, at the at least, compel Apple to rethink its procedures, as well as alter the playing field for digital artists and businesses.