If you thought that Apple would hold a press event for subscriptions, you, much like us, were wrong. While we thought it was unlikely that we’d see a major announcement from Apple, after The Daily event, we had a feeling that we might see the news paired with a product release. Turns out that Apple has launched subscriptions through a press release. All content producers now have the ability to offer digital subscription billing in their applications.
Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App Store billing system that has been used to buy billions of apps and In-App Purchases. Publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly).
In addition to being able to offer digital subscriptions through the App Store, publishers can also sell digital subscriptions through their website, or retroactively allow existing customers into their new subscription model. So, if you’re currently a customer of the New York Times, the NYT could let you gain access to their application for free. The only thing publishers need to do is offer similar prices on the App Store. If a subscription is offered for $0.99 on a publisher’s website, publishers theoretically can’t offer $2.99 subscriptions in the App Store.
Customer privacy is also still being maintained. Customers can be asked to voluntarily hand over personal information. The operative word in the last sentence is “voluntarily.” Your iTunes account information will not be handed over to publishers without your permission.