Could iPad apps really put Apple in charge of the news?

Blowout Specials ends 2/28“Publishers should think twice before worshipping the iPad as the future platform for magazines and newspapers. That is, if they value their independence from an often-capricious corporate gatekeeper,” Brian X. Chen writes for Wired.

“The past week’s controversy swirling around Apple’s retroactive ban of sexy apps in the App Store seems trivial, but the implications of Apple’s arbitrariness should be disconcerting to members of the press and those who rely on the media for unbiased information,” Chen writes.

“From a legal perspective, Apple can do whatever it wants with the content in its App Store. Apple is not government, and thus it is not governed by the First Amendment,” Chen writes. “But the lack of bikini-clad ladies in the App Store isn’t the issue here. It’s the fact that Apple has so much market power, combined with the fact that magazine and newspaper publishers are getting pumped to produce apps for Apple’s iPad, which will be served through Apple’s tightly regulated App Store. The iPad could very well play a major role in the future of publishing.”

Chen writes, “I’m optimistic that Apple will eventually create a separate section in iTunes for digital newspapers and magazines, giving publishers a platform to distribute their digital content based on a strict, contractual agreement that prevents their content from being arbitrarily removed at Apple’s discretion. Publishers should be waiting until Apple delivers that platform, rather than whipping up iPad apps and subjecting them to the gauntlet of Apple’s approval process.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Until the day newspapers turn off their websites and go “iPad-only” and/or Apple removes Safari and bans all Web browsers, we wouldn’t worry. For example, we have an app in Apple’s App Store (new version, MDN 2.1, just released!), but we also have a mobile site optimized for iPhone OS devices over which Apple has no control. Publishers don’t even need mobile sites, their regular sites will work just fine (provided their web designers use their heads and eschew Adobe’s shitastic Flash). The news media doesn’t have to go through Apple in order to deliver the news.


  1. “From a legal perspective, Apple can do whatever it wants with the content in its App Store. Apple is not government.”

    Yeah, unlike the government, Apple can do whatever it wants.

  2. amazing the amount of ignorance and understanding that journalists and anal-ists continue to prove and manifest about the technology they are supposed to be fluent in….

  3. As I said before, I believe the iPad will have a benefit to balancing news corporations, such as: CNN, CNBC, FOX, etc.

    The news corporations are so often removing or bending facts. This little iPad may be able to include and straighten out these corporatioons, at the minumn pause.

  4. Funny how things have changed, a month ago the iPad was going to be a total flop now it seems its going to rule the World. Perhaps a little common sense is called for before writing such garbage of whatever extreme.

  5. Brian X Chen: “Darn. Deadline is near. What can I whip up to get hits?”

    Intern: “Mr Chen? Want one these McIntosh Apples I bought at the grocer’s yesterday? They’re great!”

    Brian X Chen: “Brilliant! I’ll trash Apple. Let’s see. No one has an iPad so I can say anything without worrying about Apple’s legal coming after me. Give that volunteer intern a raise.”

  6. Silly argument. iPad = platform. News = content. Apple can/should have purvue over what apps are available, but unless they remove web capability, then what control could they possibly have?

    The real question is: will the news business finally recognize that the dead-tree business model can’t sustain them by itself?

  7. Seems like everyone is in agreement with MDN!

    But, this guy might be over the top a bit, but it is no different thinking than when Microsoft was in a more “powerful” mood in the late 90’s. They dictated what the customer, vendors & any other joe & mary could have!

    Now don’t get me wrong, is Apple a Microsoft type company, no, but they do have power… does that mean they will abuse it, more likely not, but Apple has to start being careful of any blow back from the developer community, without them, & yes MDN they count, Apple would have devices without any content, which equals little or no sales.

    Apple is doing a fine job of the balancing act so far, but not a great job…

    nuff said.

  8. None of the analysts and manipulators can really affect a strong business model like Apple over the long term. It will do what it is going to do. This is the advantage of having a $40 Billion war chest. The stock can have little dips and bumps, but Apple will go on doing what it does best: Making money! If you are in for the long haul, you will too!

  9. The iPad has already been projected as a miserable flop that only a few loyal Apple fans will buy, so I don’t see how it could be said that it will rule the news industry. The pundits are certainly inconsistent.

  10. “”Publishers should think twice before worshipping the iPad as the future platform for magazines and newspapers.”

    Yes Brian, the last thing publishers need is more readers!

    Who said publishers were thinking about stopping the presses and turning off their web sites?!?!

    Maybe they should form a committee to study this for a couple of years before acting.

  11. Apple can do what it wants but if Apple is going to function as a content provider then should either be willing to deliver all content with no censorship or allow content to be delivered by alternate channels. That is what happens for music at the moment (Apple devices can play any mp3) but not what happens for iPhone/iPod apps.

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