More on Apple's Plans for a 'Digital Newsstand' for Newspaper Content

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Earlier this week, we reported on claims that Apple is preparing to launch support for digital newspaper subscriptions on the iPad, preparing to move beyond the very limited options currently available such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Bloomberg today offers additional details on Apple's plans, which are said to involve launching a "digital newsstand" for newspapers similar to the iBookstore, possibly as soon as within the next few months.

Apple Inc. is developing a digital newsstand for publishers that would let them sell magazines and newspapers to consumers for use on Apple devices, said two people familiar with the matter.

The newsstand, designed particularly for the iPad, would be similar to Apple's iBook store for electronic books, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. The newsstand would be separate from Apple's App Store, where people can buy some publications now, they said.

According to the report, negotiations are still ongoing over control of subscriber data, pricing, and revenue sharing, so it appears that significant work remains to be done before the store can be rolled out. While Apple apparently could launch the feature within the next several months should everything fall into place, sources say that it may wait until the release of the next-generation iPad early next year to introduce the newspaper service.

Still, Apple already seems to be putting significant resources behind the effort, with the report claiming that Apple is developing tools to assist newspapers with generating the digital-format content and deploying server technology to support pushing the latest content directly to subscribers.

The report also cites several publishers, including Time Warner and Next Issue Media, who are refusing to sign on under Apple's currently-offered terms, and there are still no publishers yet confirmed to have agreed to the plan. Publishers are also said to be in talks with Google about a similar venture to bring their content to Android-based tablets, a move that could offer them some amount of additional leverage in their negotiations with Apple.

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