Apple Squashing iPad Magazine Subscription Plans [Updated]

120816 si ipad cover

All Things Digital reports on Time Inc.'s struggles with Apple as it has tried to roll out a true subscription program for its Sports Illustrated iPad application, an option that Apple continues to be unwilling to support.

Last month, the publisher was set to launch a subscription version of its Sports Illustrated iPad app, where consumers would download the magazines via Apple's iTunes, but would pay Time Inc. directly. But Apple rejected the app at the last minute, forcing the Time Warner (TWX) unit to sell single copies, using iTunes as a middleman, multiple sources tell me.

Since then, Time Inc. executives "have been going nuts", trying to figure out how to get Apple (AAPL) to approve a subscription plan. One of the more desperate suggestions, which apparently didn't get traction: Pulling the publisher's apps out of the iTunes store altogether.

The reasons for Apple's reluctance are not entirely clear, although the theories are ones that have been around for some time: Apple may be concerned over subscriber information being held by the publishers rather than Apple itself, and the company may be working to retain control over and profits from magazine sales by pushing downloads through the App Store rather than through publishers.

As the report notes, other entities such as The Wall Street Journal are permitted to bill users directly for iPad subscriptions to their content, and thus it is unclear exactly why Apple is targeting magazine subscriptions so closely. But until the stalemate is broken to allow publishers to offer subscription packages or print-electroinic bundles in some way as most parties seems to desire, it appears that magazine users will be limited to the single-issue purchases prevalent in the App Store today.

Update: We have heard that the holdup, at least in the case of the Sports Illustrated subscription plan, is in fact a dispute over revenue, with Apple maintaining that it should be able to collect a 30% cut of revenue as it does for content distributed through the App Store. Publishers, understandably, would prefer to move out from under the App Store umbrella for their subscriptions and keep 100% of the revenue for themselves.

Popular Stories

iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 17 Pro Max Will Be First Model to Feature Three 48MP Cameras

Thursday July 11, 2024 12:20 am PDT by
Next year's iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for enhanced photo quality and zoom functionality, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his n-iphone-tetraprism-upgrade-ca62dd37e364">latest investor note published to Medium, Kuo said the key specification change would be a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS sensor, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP sensor expected to be used...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
maxresdefault

Apple's AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro

Saturday July 13, 2024 8:00 am PDT by
Samsung this week introduced its latest earbuds, the Galaxy Buds3 Pro, which look quite a bit like Apple's AirPods Pro 2. Given the similarities, we thought we'd compare Samsung's new earbuds to the AirPods Pro. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, you could potentially mistake Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro for the AirPods Pro. The Buds3 Pro have the same...
primeday2020 feature3

The Best Early Prime Day Deals on Apple Products

Saturday July 13, 2024 6:23 am PDT by
Amazon is soon to be back with its annual summertime Prime Day event, lasting for just two days from July 16-17. As it does every year, Prime Day offers shoppers a huge selection of deals across Amazon's storefront, and there are already many deals you can get on sale ahead of the event. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may...