Apple Inc. plans to integrate recently acquired magazine app Texture into Apple News and debut its own premium subscription offering, according to people familiar with the matter. The move is part of a broader push by the iPhone maker to generate more revenue from online content and services.
The Cupertino, California company agreed last month to buy Texture, which lets users subscribe to more than 200 magazines for $9.99 a month. Apple cut about 20 Texture staff soon after, according to one of the people.
The world’s largest technology company is integrating Texture technology and the remaining employees into its Apple News team, which is building the premium service. An upgraded Apple News app with the subscription offering is expected to launch within the next year, and a slice of the subscription revenue will go to magazine publishers that are part of the program, the people said.
I’m a bit hesitant about this. Apple’s Newsstand was a resounding failure, and integrating magazines into the Apple News app might be problematic. (Though a separate Magazines app would work.)
There are two types of subscriptions Apple can offer. The first would be a basket of publications for a monthly fee, but with those publications’ articles available in the News app. This could include, for example, newspapers – like the New York Times and Washington Post – and magazines, who make their articles available on the web behind a paywall.
The second is a separate magazine-only service, like Texture. I subscribe to Readly, which gives me access to tons of magazines for a monthly price of £8. It’s practical, because I can leaf through a number of photography and computer magazines, publications that I would not buy on their own. (I did subscribe to one photo magazine, and, since it’s available via Readly, I will not be renewing it when it runs out in a couple of months.) I’m not sure how viable this is for the magazines, however; in my case, I wouldn’t have paid for two photo magazines, but I can read a dozen for about twice the price of the monthly cost of one magazine; plus the other magazines I read: news, music, literature, etc.
Of course, the problem with Apple doing this would be that it only works on Apple devices; nay, only on iOS devices. I can’t view Apple News on my Macs. If I want to see the news when I’m at my desk, I’m not going to pick up my iPhone. Apple really needs to change this; how hard can it be to port the Apple News app – which is really just an RSS aggregator at heart – to the web?