updated 05:55 pm EST, Mon November 22, 2010
News Corp iPad mag may get Apple launch December 9
News Corp's iPad-friendly news source, the Daily, has had its launch details and subscription plans narrowed down in a possible leak this afternoon. An event is reportedly slated for December 9. The date is tentative, but both News Corp's Rupert Murdoch and Apple's Steve Jobs are set to attend, the historically accurate John Gruber claimed.
"This is not going to be a quiet launch," he said, adding that it should be iPad-only at first.
While Apple is rumored to be developing a dedicated newsstand app for the iPad, the Daily would still be a traditional third-party app. Apple's contribution would involve a billing change to allow subscriptions through iTunes. The structure isn't known but would be built into iOS and not just the backend accounting system, according to the tip.
How this would work without an iOS update isn't certain, but it might either require early access to APIs that only News Corp could use or else a temporarily free publication until the plan goes live. Under the previously leaked details, the Daily would charge 99 cents per week.
Publishers have been calling on Apple to adapt its business model for magazines, newspapers and other periodicals as they believe the current structure doesn't work. The current business model both depends on one-at-a-time downloads of new issues and denies publishers demographic information about their subscribers, preventing them from getting a clearer picture needed to reach advertisers. It's not clear whether Apple is handing out more information, although subscriptions would provide a better picture of loyalty.
While unconfirmed, both sides have a vested interest in promoting tablet-ready news. News Corp's Murdoch has been publicly resentful of the trend towards free, ad-supported news on the web and has seen tablets as a way of steering users back towards paid content. Jobs in turn is likely to be heading off news sources on Android tablets and establishing the iPad as the primary platform for tablet reading.