Always keen for creating new revenue streams, Apple is looking to revolutionize the mobile application industry yet again by introducing a subscription service for newspaper and magazine apps specifically for the iPad, allowing users to access top quality news content on the go…as well as be continuously bogged down by advertising as well.
The latest report from John Gruber of Daring Fireball is that Apple will hold an event sometime in early December to announce its newest partnership with many of the top print media firms—including News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch—which will see the release of a new recurring subscription plan for specific iPad newspapers and magazines through Apple’s iTunes store.
But in an era where print media is fading; increasingly replaced by independent, informative, and not to mention free online news outlets, will the iPad save the newspaper?
With most modern newspapers now available online, users have been enjoying the luxury of reading their hometown paper while being nowhere near their hometown. For many, especially immigrant populations looking to stay connected to their homeland, the ability to surf the Jerusalem Post or the Tehran Times from half a world away has meant that people are able to stay closely connected to the places and people they love.
The only downside of online medai to this point is that people were, in large part, constrained to home computers or low grade mobile versions, but with the iPad subscription service, all that will change…hopefully.
If you’re like me, upon first hearing the news that Apple is looking to impose a subscription service for many of its premiere app publications one might immediately think that this is yet another one of Steve Jobs’ cash grabs; a pointless paid upgrade that offers users little in the way of additional content. But upon further review, things might be different this time…although I admit that I probably said the same thing last time when things turned out to be exactly the same.
When the iPad was released earlier this year, I knew it would be just a matter of time before Apple came to some profit sharing terms with many of the major media outlets around the world, allowing users to utilize the iPad as a portable newspaper stand. With eReaders like the Kindle and the iPad quickly replacing the printed book and online news sites long since usurping the printed paper, it was just a matter of time before tech companies and media companies found a way to make enhanced news services mobile, and make money off of them.
And make money Apple surely will, as a story in the San Joe Mercury News cites unnamed sources who claim that Apple could skim as much as 40 percent of all advertising revenue generated by the iPad’s subscription apps while also grabbing an additional 30 percent of all newspaper subscription fees.
So what will paying ongoing subscription fees mean for the average user? This won’t simply be your average online newspaper as the whole newspaper project will be designed in the form of a dedicated iPad app, meaning it will utilize both touchscreen features and exploit the multimedia nature of the iPad to provide an enhanced user experience, better content, and access to news features that people simply won’t be able to find anywhere else for reportedly as little as .99 cents a day.
Will Apple’s newspaper service deliver as promised? For that we’ll have to wait till December 9th to find out.