iOS 4.3 To Launch In Mid-December With App Subscriptions

News Corp. has spent the last three months assembling a newsroom that will soon be about 100 staffers strong. The Daily will launch in beta mode sometime around Christmas, and will be introduced to the public on the iPad and other tablet devices in early 2011. It is expected to cost 99 cents a week, or about $4.25 a month. It will come out — as the name suggests — seven days a week. The operation is currently working out of the 26th floor of the News Corp. Building on Sixth Avenue in a space that looks like a veritable construction zone. The staff’s permanent home will be on the ninth floor, and they’ll move down once it’s ready.

Together with details revealed by Fox Business and WWDMedia, the Guardian reported The Daily was the result of a “collaboration that has been secretly under development in New York for several months” between Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch. We speculated that Apple’s involvement in the project might be the first step towards the implementation of iTunes recurring subscriptions for apps.What’s really interesting is the role Apple and iOS are going to play: recurring subscriptions for newspapers might be implemented on a server-side level, on iTunes’ backend, but Gruber speculated they may also require an iOS update to support subscription billing APIs. It is possible that News Corp’s engineers and developers have already been provided these APIs, but it’s important to specify that, according to the rumors, Apple isn’t building an “iNewstand”: instead, it’s a brand new recurring subscription for App Store apps. The Daily will likely be the first app to support it, and this should be announced with a media event.

Hopefully 4.3 will make my iPhone 3G usable again – 4.2 has left it only slightly less crippled than 4.1. Hopefully Apple will collaborate with some non-evil corporations as well.

At least it appears the platform they’re developing will be available to multiple parties in the long run, as opposed to a provider-specific implementation as some very early rumors suggested.  I still believe it’s in Apple’s best interests to approach as many parties as possible with this, though; a News Corp and Apple partnership, for an exclusive and proprietary content and production chain from start to finish, certainly has the distinct whiff of a megamonopoly trust violation to it. Allowing Hollywood to own the studios, and the theaters – thus the entire production chain – didn’t work out very well for them.  Sure, News Corp and Apple are obviously independently owned – but the very fact that Apple is giving them this exclusive access aligns their business interests a little too closely.

More to the point – isn’t Apple missing an enormous business opportunity by not including a few other content pushers here, alongside News Corp?  Do you think they’re making the right call?

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