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iOS 4.3 coming to iPad with newspaper subscription support?

iPad The Daily
We've heard about Rupert Murdock's schemes to single-handedly save the print industry by turning to pay-walls and the iPad before. Recently he announced that News Corp would be launching a tablet-only daily newspaper, cunningly called 'The Daily,' which will cost you somewhere in the region of 99c a week. What has also been divulged was that said tablet-only newspaper would be launching in "beta mode sometime around Christmas" and that it would be "introduced to the public on the iPad and other tablet devices in early 2011." Given that it's already fast approaching December, should News Corp be keeping to time, The Daily beta should arrive any day now. The problem is, even with iOS 4.2, the iPad, or any iDevice for that matter, can't currently support subscriptions.

Combined with rumors surrounding a possible collaboration between Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdock over The Daily, and the rumor that Apple isn't doing an 'iNewstand' app of its own, then one of two scenarios may play out in the very near future. Apple is going to have to enable reoccurring subscriptions within apps themselves -- therefore, either Apple implements App Store subscriptions server-side, or if extra hooks and APIs are required, then Apple is going to have to roll out another iOS update.
MacStories, with its own sources, has come to the conclusion that an update to iOS is more likely, iOS 4.3 or iOS 4.2.2, if Apple thinks it's only something minor. John Gruber also posted that according to his sources, an Apple press event is to be held somewhere around the 9th of December, with high likelihood of that date slipping back to the following week. The Mac App Store is of course on the horizon, but Gruber has it that Apple and News Corp, plus potentially other news media companies, will hold a joint press announcement over newspaper subscriptions on the iPad.

Given that iOS 4.2 slipped back because of Wi-Fi issues, pushing it further through November than anticipated, it is possible that Apple was, or is, planning another update in December. Whether we actually see an update to iOS, however, is unclear. It's equally possible that Apple can just flip a switch on the back-end and enable app subscriptions as part of its in-app purchases for apps that have it implemented. Given that subscriptions for media is almost a given at this stage, it begs the question, will subscriptions be enabled in other app types? Could we see a game-rental model for instance? 99c a week to get your Angry Birds fix? Ngmoco and others have pushed forward with the freemium model, perhaps the rental model is the next evolutionary step? Would you pay a recurring daily, weekly or monthly fee to play your favorite game on your iPhone or iPad?

Of course at this point, no matter what people say, it's all purely speculation, conjecture and rumor. Until Mr. Jobs steps up onto that stage and announces something a little more exciting than the Beatles on iTunes, anything can happen. But for what it's worth, my money is on media-only subscriptions, and a Jobsnote sometime in mid-December to announce a 'coming soon' iPad-only newspaper.

Tags: Apple, iOS, iPad, News Corp, newspaper, tablet, the daily, TheDaily

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