Gruber: Apple’s Key Role In ‘The Daily’ Is The Creation Of Recurring iTunes Subscription Billing

An iTunes subscription service has been rumored for what seems like forever – and while the upcoming move may have nothing to do with the ‘Music’ aspect of Apple’s business model, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber notes that Apple’s key role in the development of News Corp’s tablet-only publication may have been the creation of APIs which allow recurring subscription-based billing to iTunes accounts.

As regards Apple’s role, my understanding, based on information from sources not at Apple, is that this is not something like iBooks — there is no central “iNews” or “Newsstand” app from Apple. Rather, it’s a new subscription billing option for apps — true recurring subscriptions — paid through your iTunes account. News Corp’s “Daily”, then, would be just an app in the App Store, using subscription billing routines built-into iOS. My understanding is that the developers at News Corp building the app already have preliminary documentation on the new subscription billing APIs from Apple. I presume this would require a new version of iOS, but perhaps the Daily will launch as soon as it can, free of charge until the billing support ships from Apple.

It would be nice if there were also a way for content to be delivered periodically in the background, so that when you launch it in the morning, you don’t have to wait for it to download today’s news. That’s just a “wouldn’t it be nice?” idea from me, though, not something I’ve heard is coming from Apple.

[via Daring Fireball]

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