Following its acquisition of all-you-can-read magazine service Texture in March, Apple is planning to launch a news subscription service, Bloomberg reports today. The service is expected to be available within a year, placing the launch somewhere between the annual SXSW and WWDC events, if not sooner.
According to the report, Apple laid off around 20 of Texture’s 100 employees shortly after the acquisition but integrated the remaining people into its Apple News team. Apple intends to release an updated Apple News application with the subscription service integrated and plans to share revenues with magazine publishers that are in the program. Texture currently offers access to over 200 magazines for $10 per month; pricing for the new service is uncertain.
The move has the potential to more than modestly alter the Apple News app, which currently focuses almost exclusively on providing free news to iOS users. Under most circumstances, stories only rarely appear with price tags of any sort, and those that do tend to be niche articles from specific publishers with individual subscription-based paywalls. Altering the balance in favor of more subscription-based content could transform Apple News from a library- or RSS-like aggregator into more of a store.
But it’s likely that Apple will approach the subscription service as Texture has, aggregating hundreds of magazines together in an all-you-can-read monthly service, rather than focusing on individual subscriptions. Still, it’s unclear how Apple News will display magazine content, specifically whether articles will be shown in their PDF-like downloadable forms or forced to adapt to News’ web-like scrollable and dynamically reformattable interface.
Apple’s music subscription service, Apple Music, has successfully scaled an improved version of the Beats Music service from under 1 million to over 40 million subscribers in a matter of years. The company recently said that it has a total of 240 million paid subscriptions across its stores, including apps, video, and music.