updated 05:45 pm EDT, Mon April 12, 2010
iPad to get Time mag subs while Amazon sits
Time Warner's chief Ann Moore has dropped hints in a new interview of subscription media for the iPad coming in the near future. The Apple tablet is "only a newsstand" right now and requires buying one issue at a time, but in three months magazines like Time will have more conventional plans. Moore didn't tell Bloomberg if this would happen within the existing iPad app or in iBooks, although Apple hasn't unveiled any subscription plans for its online store.
Subscription services already exist on the iPad, such as for the Wall Street Journal, and usually depend on a subscription that technically exists outside of the Apple ecosystem. Time Inc.'s current model has resulted in magazines that cost roughly as much as a one-time purchase of a physical copy at a store, but that pricing should go down substantially with a subscription. Amazon's Kindle has already beaten the iPad to this and currently asks $3 per issue for an auto-renewing subscription.
While relatively late, Apple is still considered by Moore to be ahead of the curve versus Amazon in technology. Time Inc. wants digital reading to move to color but hasn't had success in pushing Amazon to move beyond its grayscale E Ink screen. Some magazines exist on the Kindle, but most of these have limited image use as the Kindle recognizes neither color nor advanced layouts. The books themselves sometimes support color, but Amazon has warned that a color Kindle may be years away as it waits for E Ink to get proper color.
"We're thrilled with the iPad because it's really putting pressure on everybody to get into a color world," Moore noted. "I couldn't convince Amazon to do it alone." [image via Laura Cope]