Macworld (USA)

Apple takes another swing at news subscripti­ons

If the price and content is right.


Raise your hand if you remember The Daily ( daly). Back when the ipad still had a 30-pin connection port, Apple teamed up with News Corp to bring a new type of publicatio­n to the burgeoning tablet market featuring exclusive, interactiv­e content, rich animations, and touch-focused games. It cost a buck a week or $40 a year and was delivered to Apple’s Newsstand app on the ipad each morning. It lasted less than

two years (

The biggest problem with The Daily was that it was too middle-of-the-road. Even after the early bugs were squashed, The Daily’s content was too generic to find a dedicated audience, a death knell in today’s 24/7 news culture. But Apple hasn’t given up on making subscripti­on news a feature on iphones and ipads. Just last month Apple announced it had acquired magazine delivery app Texture (, and according to a new report from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg (, a “premium subscripti­on” news service is on the way.

If you hadn’t heard of Texture before Apple gobbled it up, the service offers all-you-can-read access to hundreds of magazines for $10 a month ( Macworld among them). The service is one of the most popular apps in both the Google Play ( and IOS App ( go. stores, with thousands of five-star ratings.

Gurman says Apple is working on integratin­g Texture technology into Apple News (, a free reader app that launched as part of IOS 9 in 2015. According to his sources, an upgraded News app will debut within the next year with a new subscripti­on component, with a slice of the revenue going to publishers. If it all sounds familiar to Apple’s Newsstand app, that’s because it kind of is. Apple has already tried to offer subscripti­ons to newspapers and magazines through IOS, but this new approach has a whole lot more going for it.


If Apple follows the Texture model for the new Apple News, it could be a groundbrea­king initiative for publicatio­ns. While Texture is a popular service, building a subscripti­on model for news into every iphone and ipad would give publishers tremendous visibility, and pairing it with the excellent (and free) News app would let users get a taste of what their $10 will buy.

Unlike the Newsstand delivery method, readers wouldn’t have to buy magazines piecemeal, so an Apple news service would expose users to a whole library of content they might not normally read. Also, since Texture is largely a glorified PDF reader, magazines need to be downloaded before they can be read, and there’s no real interactiv­ity within them. If Apple incorporat­es its new service into the News platform, articles would be rich and animated, and like Apple Music, Apple could suggest articles and publicatio­ns based on your reading habits, spotlight trending stories, and create “playlists” of

like-minded articles.

Beyond Texture, there isn’t a subscripti­on news service that does for articles what Netflix and Hulu do for movies and TV shows. With exclusive content, engaging design, and a simple interface, Apple could simultaneo­usly create and own a digital news service that combines Texture’s interface with Apple’s smart layout design ( go. and focus on breaking news. It would be like Google Reader on steroids. Rather than targeting single users, Apple could create a service that appeals to a wide variety of readers, no matter what kind of content they crave.

But the killer feature would be crossplatf­orm compatibil­ity. While Apple doesn’t yet offer an Android version of its News app, Texture is available in the Google Play Store, much like Beats Music was when Apple bought the company ( back in 2014. Even when it shuttered Beats Music to launch Apple Music a year later, it made a version for the Play Store that’s just as good as the IOS one. I suspect an all-you-can-read Apple service would be just as popular on Android as IOS, especially as publishers look for an alternativ­e to Facebook.

The Daily was a good concept that was poorly executed and too limited in scope and audience to succeed. With a new subscripti­on service, Apple has a chance to make things right. And it just might work. ■

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 ??  ?? News Corp shut down The Daily after less than two years.
News Corp shut down The Daily after less than two years.

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