Apple May be Prepping iPad Newspaper Subscription Feature

Apple is apparently finishing up work on a new feature for the iPad that would allow newspapers to charge for subscriptions to digital versions of their publications. Several U.S. newspapers are reported to be working on iPad apps targeted at subscription news delivery and have reportedly been working with Apple on their projects, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Apple is expected to take a 30 percent cut of subscriptions sold through iTunes-based online App Store, and could take as much as 40 percent of in-app add revenue. Publishers will get access to subscriber information, but only for subscribers that agree to share their personal data with the companies.

Newspaper publishers need the customer data “so they can integrate it into their circulation database so they know who their customers are,” commented Roger Fidler, head of digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute in Columbia, Missouri.

Assuming Apple gets a subscription service in place that newspapers are willing to accept, it could create a new avenue for the publications to get their content in front of readers and generate additional revenue, too.

There’s no word yet on when to expect newspaper subscriptions to hit the iPad.