image A couple of days ago I looked at the implications Apple’s expulsion of explicit apps might have for e-books. But I missed the more immediate implication for e-newspapers and magazines, which are covered in this post on Wired’s “Gadget Lab” blog.

Brian X. Chen, the writer of the piece, thinks that Apple’s decision should make newspapers and magazines think twice about their plans to develop for the iPad. Chen suggests that it is possible that, if a paper or magazine posts a particularly controversial article, Apple could be pressured into taking down the iPad version of the periodical even if the periodical itself does not intend to give in.

He also points out that—unlike books, music, and movies, which can carry “explicit” material in their dedicated iTunes stores—newspapers and magazines will have to go into the App Store, with its inconsistently-applied and arbitrary standards.

I’m optimistic that Apple will eventually create a separate section in iTunes for digital newspapers and magazines, giving publishers a platform to distribute their digital content based on a strict, contractual agreement that prevents their content from being arbitrarily removed at Apple’s discretion. Publishers should be waiting until Apple delivers that platform, rather than whipping up iPad apps and subjecting them to the gauntlet of Apple’s approval process.

Chen also brings up the suggestion that Apple should loosen its restrictions and allow sites or stores outside of Apple’s App Store to host material that Apple won’t allow in its own store—perhaps with a parental control setting to keep young users from being able to go there.

Whatever happens, in a way it is good that Apple is taking these actions now, while the iPad is still in its early stages. Every arbitrary decision Apple makes should send a warning to publishers and developers: if you get in bed with Apple, you never know when Apple might kick you out.


  1. This is Brian X. Chen of the “Why the Japanese Hate the iPhone” fiasco. His article was factually in error, hyper-quoted around the internet, and consequently a standard belief in the tech industry for over a year. Meanwhile, the Japanese lined up around blocks to buy iPhones. The iPhone was a hit in Japan. Chen has a track record of Apple hit pieces. I wouldn’t put too much stock in his opinions.

  2. Apple is just getting warmed up. Gotta protect that sacred brand! What they will do eventually is single-handedly kill off the entire app store premise and thankfully so! Platform providers shouldnt have have THAT MUCH control over who develops for the platform or how individuals use it in the end. I routinely refer to Jobs and henchmen as El Diablo for good reason, they do abundant evil in the consumer electronics world!

  3. This is great information. I agree with the opinion that Apple should open up a little and let other stores make content available that Apple otherwise would not. The only problem I see with this device to this point is that just like any Apple product it is somewhat closed to outside sources. The iPod probably would not be as popular as it is if the only way it worked was with music from the iTunes store.

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