Is Apple launching its own newsstand?

According to Bloomberg, Apple is developing a digital newsstand for publishers that would let them sell magazines and newspapers to consumers for use on Apple devices, initially for the iPad, but possibly for the iPhone too.

The newsstand would be similar to Apple’s iBook store claim the unidentified sources, with Apple selling the subscriptions from a digital storefront that could be up and running in a couple of months. However, there are problems and hurdles to jump before that happens.

Obviously, if a publisher sells a digital subscription now, it gets all of the cash. But going via Apple will mean a division of this revenue - and that is an ongoing issue between Apple and the likes of Time Warner Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst Corp. and News Corp. It's not the only issue either, who controls user data and the price at which the subscriptions are set at are also troubling publishers. Apple gets 30 per cent of music revenue for example, which could be too much for the publishing houses to swallow.

But on the plus side, Apple is developing software to make it easier and cheaper to create digital versions of magazines and newspapers, offering extras such as high-resolution videos integrated with stories, according to a source. Apple hopes this simplification will attract more publishers to the cause and make revenue sharing easier to swallow.

All could be revealed before the year is out, heralding a new era for the way we gobble up our daily, weekly and monthly news.

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