By Harry McCracken | Monday, February 21, 2011 at 9:26 am
Readability, the cool minimalist reading interface for Web content, is built into Apple’s Safari. And its creators were planning to bring a version to the iPhone and iPad. But Apple has rejected the iOS version on the grounds that that it uses a system other than Apple’s In-App Purchases to obtain content. Even though Readability isn’t selling content–it’s a subscription service that lets you read free content provided by others. Bottom line: It looks like Apple expects anyone with an iPhone/iPad app that involves ongoing fees to (A) offer In-App Purchases; and (B) turn 30 percent of revenue from In-App Purchases over to Apple.
It’s increasingly clear that we really don’t know yet what the upshot of Apple’s new 30-percent-fee will be: There are many cases where the math just doesn’t work. Maybe Apple will reduce or rescind the fee, at least in certain cases. Maybe third-party developers will radically rework their business models, or somehow convince book publishers and music companies to take a much smaller cut. But something big is going to happen in between now and June 30th, the deadline for amending apps to follow the new rules.