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Subscriptions

Did Apple make a mistake with free apps?

Manton has an interesting post up where he theorizes that a lot of the problems we've seen in the App Store, from the across the board 30% revenue cut Apple requires for paid apps, to in-app purchases, to iAds, and now subscriptions can all be traced back to Apple's decision to host free apps for free. In other words, that the cost of approving, hosting, marketing, and delivering free apps is high enough that Apple is struggling and stumbling to make enough off paid apps and content to cover it.

When Steve Jobs said it, offering free apps for so little seemed almost foolish, like Apple was compensating for the high 30% by giving too good a deal to free apps. Why not charge some hosting fee? Or why not give up exclusive distribution and let free apps be installed directly by the user without forcing everything through the App Store? Unlimited bandwidth, promotion in the store, and everything else just for the $99 dev program fee was a pretty good deal. And now I wonder if Apple hasn't been backpedaling ever since, trying to make up for that mistake.

So in order to run the App Store at just over break-even -- as Apple reports they during their financial results -- they need to earn enough off paid apps to defray the cost of free apps. They also have to make sure they don't lose revenue -- they can't let developers offer free apps, shouldered by Apple, with ads that make money for Google or that use subscriptions or other forms of outside payments as a way to circumvent the revenue sharing. (Which is why we said from the beginning Apple couldn't charge less than 30% for subscriptions or every paid and in-app purchasing app that could would just switch to subscriptions in order to keep more of the revenue.)

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Can an Apple, divided against itself, stand?

Speaking of John Siracusa, he has an interesting post up on his Fat Bits blog concerning the Apple strategy tax -- whether Apple's increasingly divergent interests, from iTunes to iOS to App Store to iAds, will inevitably lead to compromise, contention, and/or conflict.

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New subscription policy doesn't apply to Software as a Service - Sent from Steve Jobs' iPhone

A MacRumors reader emailed Steve Jobs about recent fears that Apple's new App Store subscription policy would hurt Software as a Service (SaaS) apps, and Jobs' purported response is -- no it won't.

The question:

As a full time iOS developer, I am concerned (and confused) withe the new App Store guideline regarding "Apps offering subscriptions" (section 11.12).

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iPad Live 44: Subscription disservice

Georgia, Chad, and Rene discuss iPad 2 and iPad 3 rumors (yes, more!), iOS and Apple's controversial new subscription service, MobileMe, an actual Apple TV, and your questions answered! This is iPad Live!

Complete show notes for the week in iPad after the break!

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Investigating Apple


U.S. antitrust regulators looking into Apple's new subscription service

The U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are starting to look into Apple's new subscription service. Right now just looking into the matter and it may not even ever develop into a formal investigation or any actions against Apple. The European Commission is also carefully monitoring the situation as well.

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Apple adds subscriptions, auto-renew, personal information sharing to iTunes Terms and Conditions

If you're downloading The Daily, or any other app right now, from the App Store you'll be presented with new Terms and Conditions to agree to that include the new subscription service, how it handles auto-renewal, and how Apple may ask to share your personal information with publishers:

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The Daily subscription newspaper now available in App Store

Following the just-completed News Corp and Apple launch event, The Daily has gone live in the US App Store. An everyday newspaper focusing on a mix of editorial, news, and entertainment coverage it's goal is to provide the best in traditional content presented using the best in iPad video, image, internet, and multitouch technology. Highlights include 360 degree photos, animation, live social streams like celebrity Twitter feeds, and the ability to update during the day if events warrant.

Using Apple's new subscription service it will cost $0.99 a week or $39.99 a year.

And yeah, US only right now.

Anyone giving it a try? Anyone sold on a year's worth already? Anyone taking a pass? Let us know in the comments!

[Free with subscription - iTunes link]

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The Daily event meta live blog

The Daily Event

Apple and News Corp will be holding The Daily event today at 11am EST and we'll be following along, recapping the coverage and offering TiPb's unique color and commentary. We'll kick off a few minutes before the event. Join us!

The Daily Event live stream

Meanwhile, what do you expect? Any surprises?

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iPad based magazine subscriptions in a slump

iPad magazine sales seem to be in a bit of a slump. Many magazine publishers have made their content available on iPad as it's an easy way to read content without having to have paper copies littering your home or office. If it's more convenient, why are magazine sales on the iPad not doing so great?

In August, 10,500 users bought issues of Vanity Fair on their iPads. In August, only 8,700 copies were purchased via the iPad. Glamour magazine was in even worse shape with only 2,775 iPad issues sold in October. We all know that paper copies of magazines are on their way out, but shouldn't that mean that virtual copies should literally be flying off digital shelves?

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