Users of Apple’s Pad, iPod touch and iPhone will soon be be able to buy subscriptions to newspapers and magazines via iTunes at the same prices offered by the publishers via their own websites and marketing offers.
After months of speculation and waiting, Apple has finally announced a new subscription service for iTunes which it says will be available to all publishers of content-based apps in the App Store.
Customers taking out a subscription inside the app will be charged via iTunes with Apple taking a 30% cut of the price.
Publishers will be able to offer weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly subscriptions while customers will be able to review, manage and cancel their subscriptions from a personal account page.
In a statement Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: “Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing.”
Publishers will remain free to sell subscriptions via other methods however Apple requires those doing so to ensure iTunes users have access to any prince promotions or special offers.
In his statement Jobs said: “All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app.”
There’s potentially unwelcome news for publishers who will be banned from proving in-app links to websites which allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside the app.
In recent weeks there’s been speculation that a decision to reject Sony’s Reader app was connected to the availability of in-app purchasing and there have been questions, so far unanswered, about whether Apple is about to block ebook rivals Kindle and Kobo from offering out of the app purchasing.
In a move the company is portraying as a win for privacy-conscious shoppers, Apple has also confirmed that publishers will not automatically get access to their contact details and it will be for the buyer to decide if they wish to supply these.
So far the US-only The Daily news app offers iTunes subscriptions via a special ‘early arrangement with Apple.