As a consumer, I see nothing wrong with subscriptions coming through the Apple App Store, as was announced today (Apple Launches Subscriptions on the App Store). At least from the business model standpoint as we transition from paper to digital formats. Obtaining traditional magazines in digital format, however, is not the future of content.
In the long run, content needs to be delivered as components. I want to subscribe to streams of content across a population of sources, based on topic. I still tear articles out of magazines. I print digital articles to OneNote, into categorized notebooks. I would much rather have content pre-categorized and delivered daily, then aggregated, based on topics I care about. I skip by three-quarters of all of the articles in magazines, focusing my attention and my time on articles that help me personally, or in my business research.
So Apple is moving in the right direction, but this isn’t the final stop. To me, the next step will be the disaggregation of content in a form that can be aggregated by the consumer. This means different advertising and data models, and I hope that Apple, and the publishers of magazines, are looking ahead to this next change. Today we are only dealing with format. Tomorrow we will be dealing with the way we engage with content, moving magazine level editorial to automation and consumer preference. That will shake the publishing world much more than changes in delivery.