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More iPad newsstand: background downloads, may hit next iPad

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Sat September 18, 2010

iPad news service may have dedicated app

Apple's rumored iPad news service has garnered more details slip late Friday. The magazine and newspaper service would be distinct from the App Store and similar to but not necessarily a part of iBooks. The company is also said by Bloomberg to be talking to at least four major publishers, including Conde Nast, Hearst, News Corp. and Time Warner.

The service would also address a longstanding complaint for reading on the iPad by enabling background downloads of the latest issues. A cornerstone of the Amazon Kindle has been its ability to fetch new periodical issues automatically. On the iPad, readers have to download each issue themselves.

Apple is also said to be following Adobe's cue and developing tools to help create much more visually rich publications with videos and other features that aren't available in the plain ePub format used by iBooks. Some have speculated that Apple's decision to re-allow third-party iOS tools may have stemmed from a need to serve publishers used to making print-style layouts, often with Adobe's Creative Suite apps.

Companies have also wanted to develop for more tablets than just the iPad and have complained that they have limited resources and time to support both Apple and other platforms like Android.

Creating the service would be seen as a way of luring customers specifically to the iPad, but disputes remain over how to price the titles and how to divide the revenue between Apple and publishers. Apple normally demands a 30 percent cut of every form of media that passes through its store, but the royalties could significantly hurt the effective price versus paper. Although digital has much less overhead, most existing iPad magazines have cost as much as or only slightly below print editions and are usually much more expensive than a year's subscription to paper.

The approach may be alluring regardless of terms, as the earlier rumor suggested Apple would let subscribers opt into providing the data that magazines and newspapers want. Demographics are often crucial to print as they help tailor the ads and the editorial content itself to the audience. Apple's current privacy rules prevent this and leave publishers without much guidance.

A launch could come as early as within two months, but the timing is such that Apple may simply wait until the next iPad refresh, which most anticipate in early 2011, to show its efforts.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. CmdrGampu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009

    +1

    comment title

    "A cornerstone of the Amazon Kindle has been its ability to fetch new periodical issues automatically. On the iPad, readers have to download each issue themselves."

    Most of us have wifi-only iPads. I'm not sure we'd want an app constantly trying to download issues. Also, the Kindle issues are comparatively easier to download because they have no illustrations. iPad magazine files are much larger because of the full color graphics.

    "Although digital has much less overhead, most existing iPad magazines have cost as much as or only slightly below print editions and are usually much more expensive than a year's subscription to paper."

    Not on Zinio, where the prices are usually comparable to good sale prices on paper subs. Bonnier's Popular Science+ app was a major ripoff at $5 an issue and sparked a backlash that resulted in Bonnier recently announcing that it would offer subscriptions on Zinio again, after eliminating them soon after the iPad was released and they started selling their own app. At $10 per year, the Zinio sub is actually slightly less than the $12 paper sub, although even less expensive subs are sometimes available on sale from third party sources.

  1. Inkling

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jul 2006

    -9

    Next iPad refresh

    Yes, that next iPad refresh lurking sometime in 2011 should have us wondering. Those thinking about getting an iPad should remember the poor iPhone 3G users who were left out in the cold because Apple didn't put in enough memory or speed to handle iOS 4's multi-tasking. It's quite likely there's a similar gotcha in the 1-gen iPad, so it might be good to wait for the same raw features the iPhone 4 just to be safe.

    Never forget that digital products often have technological divides in their features. Being on the wrong side of that divide means quick obsolescence. Being on the right side means a long and productive life. 3G not OK, 3GS OK. One letter made all the difference.

    For news subscriptions, right now it might be good to opt for a mature product like the Kindle 3. Even if the choice proves less than perfect, you've only spent one-third as much money.

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jan 2000

    -3

    Apple's rumored iPad news service has garnered mor

    Too bad this sentence makes no sense.

    Is the Macnn/ipodnn/electronista whatever outsourcing proofreading cause this is a strange arrangement of English words?

  1. charlituna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    -1

    comment title

    "Some have speculated that Apple's decision to re-allow third-party iOS tools may have stemmed from a need to serve publishers used to making print-style layouts, often with Adobe's Creative Suite apps."

    Sorry but no. Apple doesn't care for Adobe at all. For a number of reasons. They changed the rule to avoid being sued when they allowed well working tools like Unreal Engine but not everyone else. Period.

    As for this newspaper thing. It will likely be a separate app and separate from the OS for the same reason as ibooks -- ease of quicker updates.

    Also it probably would hold until the next ipad which would likely have more ram, and possibly more harddrive. Not to mention working out the deals and the systems to handle the whole thing take time. And we know how Apple feels about releasing things before their time (as decided by Apple)

    But make no mistake this is less about pushing sales and more about trying to do what Apple does best -- push consumers into the future. The future is digital. It's ebooks and etextbooks and emagazines. it's about computers you can more easily carry with you so you are always online even when away from home and your 'base' computer. It's about streaming rather than cluttering our homes with tons of DVDs and CDs. And so on. This newsstand really isn't something new but just the next step in what was started with ibooks. same as going from music to movies to tv shows.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010

    0

    Shouldn't even bother with Android

    ..."limited resources and time to support both Apple and other platforms like Android."...

    Android itself has little time left. Sergey Brin is anxious to move on and transition users to Chrome OS, especially on tablets. And that deadly Oracle lawsuit is looming large. Clear violation of the Java license agreement, $20 million payment by Microsoft to Sun for a similar license infraction, and there's no way for Google to buy their way out. Larry Ellison wants blood. Not money.

    But think of it this way. Android phones will become collectors' items in no time. Could be worth big $$$ in 20 to 50 years!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Shouldn't even bother...

    SockRolid, Apple employee and FUD spreader about Android's soon to be demise.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    @CmdrGampu

    Most of us have wifi-only iPads. I'm not sure we'd want an app constantly trying to download issues.

    Why? It's wi-fi, what do you care if it's trying to constantly download issues? If you were on a data plan, I would understand it, what with data caps and all.

    Not on Zinio, where the prices are usually comparable to good sale prices on paper subs.

    Yes, but that's from a subscription service. The apps in the discussion are from the magazines themselves.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    @charlituna

    Sorry but no. Apple doesn't care for Adobe at all. For a number of reasons. They changed the rule to avoid being sued when they allowed well working tools like Unreal Engine but not everyone else. Period.

    Yes, the Unreal engine is a 'well working tool'. How exactly do you know that, BTW?

    And Apple's complaints on third-party tools wasn't about it working 'well' or not, it was that any third-party tool would always be behind the tech curve of the native tool sets in terms of features and capabilities. So it would take another year when using those tools to get your apps updated to include all the new features in your app to take advantage of all the killer new features of the next iOS and iDevice.

    So, exactly who is going to keep the Unreal Engine up-to-date? And what's so special about them that other tool makers are incapable of doing it.

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