Managing subscriptions - iSubscribe?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by vini-vidi-vici, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. vini-vidi-vici macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I’ve been thinking about how exactly subscriptions will work with the iPad. Right now, there isn’t a system in place to enable you to subscribe to anything via the app store, or even within an app. Everything in the app store is “buy it once”. From what I’ve seen, the iBook store will be the same way – you buy a book and you’re done.

    It seems to me there’s an obvious need for some kind of interface to buy subscriptions… If content providers like NYTimes really want to play in this space, they’re going to need a way to do it.

    I believe you can’t do this via an app… i.e. buy the NYTimes app, then pay some money to NYTimes “in app”? This would also be clunky, as it wouldn’t give the user a single place to manage such subscriptions. They'd have to go through a payment signup process for each subscription, and have no easy way to see what they've all paid for.

    What’s needed is something similar to iBooks or iTunes that lets you search for what’s available, easily see what you have subscribed to, quickly launch those content viewer(s), and manage your subscriptions. The subscription models will need to be very flexible too. Depending on the content, these will either need to be time-based (for content that is continuously updated), or issue-based (such that you could buy a single issue… say, of a comic or national geographic). This will let you buy a longer subscription at a discount. There could also be a “full access” option (for example, you could get access to the entire archive of national geographic magazines). The interface should clearly show each of these subscriptions, along with what you “have left”, and what options there are to extend those subscriptions.

    Another question is how will the content in these subscriptions be launched? Will each entity have their own app/interface? If you run the NYTimes app, will it “peek inside” iSubscribe to see what you have access to? Or will there be some template that works ‘within’ something like iSubscribe? (similar to iBooks) Will content be downloaded and saved to your device? Or, if you let your subscription run-out, do you lose access to everything you could previously see?

    There are some subscription Podcasts today, where you have to buy a special key, and then get access to the podcast. With these, the payment is totally outside the apple store. That seems like an oversight to me. Apple is making it difficult to find and subscribe to such podcasts, and missing out on some revenue too.

    I’ve brought this up before, but have yet to see a serious discussion of it… and I think it’ll really be a critical component of how subscriptions would work. It’s not like Apple to let this get all sloppy and disjointed… Any other thoughts on this?
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    You'll pay for the app. The app will allow you to access whatever content. If something has to be renewed, you'll pay for it via the app store most likely with a button built into the app. Nothing really groundbreaking.
     
  3. vini-vidi-vici thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I don't believe such a facility exists today. It'd be interesting to see how it would actually work. Plus, then you'll have a dozen different apps with different subscriptions, and no way to see everything "at a glance".
     
  4. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #4
    Yes, you can. It's called "in-app purchasing".
     
  5. vini-vidi-vici thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    can you give an example of some app that has this today? I just haven't seen it...
     
  6. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    Feb 10, 2004
    #6
    Seems like the existing in app purchasing system would work well enough for something like this.

    EDIT: beaten to the punch! An example would be the game Eliminate. It's an FPS game that is free to download, but has in game purchases to give you new equipment and stuff. I've never played it, but it was the first thing that came to mind for in app purchases.
     
  7. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #7
    While I'm sure in-app purchasing can be used to manage magazine subscriptions, I think the OPs suggestion would be more elegant. I think magazine subscriptions should be like subscribing to podcasts, or like purchasing a TV show in iTunes. You know how you can purchase the show episode by episode, or you can subscribe to the whole season? That model would work well with magazines.
     
  8. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #8
  9. vini-vidi-vici thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Well...

    In theory, you could do the same with electronic books (apparently some authors are doing that today, and selling books for the iPhone)... But this makes iBooks redundant. I mean, just buy a book app from some publisher or author that includes whatever engine needed to turn pages and such, and completely skip iBooks.

    Then, I have to ask - what's the point of iBooks? If Apple, or anyone thinks there is a point to iBooks, there ought to be a similar case for an iSubscribe app/interface.
     
  10. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #10
    I think Apple was caught by surprise by the popularity of ebooks on the iPhone/touch. I remember when the app store first opened, there was no category for Books. Book app developers just randomly threw books into any category they thought their books fit, flooding the Education, Business, and a few other categories, before Apple finally got their acts together and gathered them up into a category of their own. If they had foreseen that ebooks would take off like that for the iPhone, I think they would have built an ebooks section into iTunes from the beginning. Since they didn't, we now have a mess, and Apple will have a hard time corralling everything back into iTunes/iBooks. I think magazines, especially, might prefer to make their own apps to present their content the way *they* think is best, so if Apple tries to implement your iSubscription idea, they will have a hard time convincing magazines to go along with it.

    BTW, "some" authors? Have you even taken a look at how many ebooks there are in the app store? ;)
     

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