The moment Apple launched the first iPad print media companies like The New York Times and Time Inc., started jumping onboard with digital apps for the tablet available in Apple’s App Store and started offering in app content that users will have to pay for to access and consume. Now a new trend though is emerging with some criticizing Apple’s control and choosing to erect pay-walls on their own sites and develop HTML 5 web apps to access that content in browsers like Safari so iPad users can still access content but not through Apple’s App Store. The recent news of new features in iOS 5 to make the online reading experience on iPads and other mobile devices by Apple more enjoyable is interesting. No doubt the companies protesting Apple’s control will opt to not make their content available for Apple’s News Stand app. However, there will be plenty of other companies that choose to continue offering content via the App Store and will do so through News Stand.
The iPad tablet is becoming more and more an e-reader as Apple adds features like Safari Reader and Reading List to mobile Safari to improve the online reading experience of their mobile devices and introduces their News Stand app in the App Store as a new way to get readers to pay for content. As I have stated earlier Apple is gunning for Amazon’s Kindle business of e-readers and e-books that currently lead the market. This competition could be good for consumers as long as prices of e-books continue to go down to reflect the reality that publishers can sell e-books for less than printed books as there are no manufacturing costs for e-books and still make a profit. However, with reports of Apple and some book publishers being sued for scheming to raise e-book prices it is yet to be seen whether Apple’s entrance in the e-book market is good for readers. No doubt new features that make reading on iPads more enjoyable will be welcomed by some users but the concern of Apple and publishers scheming to raise prices may worry some users.