Apple News is getting into the subscription business.
At Monday’s Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, the company announced a new subscription service called Apple News Plus (or, Apple News+).
Tim Cook positioned the service as a way to get access to magazines — as opposed to just articles from news outlets — with just one subscription. Pay $9.99 a month and you’ll get access to over 300 magazines covering topics like entertainment, news, fashion, and more.
“I miss the feeling of being at the newsstand,” Tim Cook said, seemingly forgetting that Apple devices helped make buying physical magazines obsolete.
Apple News+ is launching with a host of heavy hitters in media. Condé Nast, which publishes Vogue, The New Yorker, Wired, and more, is on board, as are the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.
“We’ve got magazines for just about every passion under the sun, and Apple News+ is the only place where you will find all of these magazines in the same place,” Roger Rosner, Apple’s VP of applications, said.
Last week before the official announcement, the New York Times reported that the Wall Street Journal would be part of the service. Other outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, reportedly didn’t want to give Apple a 50 percent cut of subscription revenue. At the event, Apple did not say how much of that $9.99 would go to Apple vs. publishers.
The Apple News+ subscription won’t necessarily give carte blanche access to all participating magazines, though. The announcement was short on details, but previous reports indicate that some publishers would get to choose a limited amount of content that they would give Apple News+ subscribers.
Apple News+ is trying to further differentiate itself, though. It will feature Harry Potter-esque live magazine covers. And, in a direct pot-shot at Facebook, boasted that it won’t share data about what you read with third parties.
Tim Cook announced that Apple News is the number one news app. Cook said that users read 5 billion articles per month. And earlier this year, Apple said that Apple News had 85 million monthly active users.
Since Apple will offer a free month-long trial of the new subscription service, that number could potentially balloon even larger. Whether that’s good news for struggling publishers, or just a boon for Apple, is a story that’s yet to be written.
Additional reporting by Sasha Lekach.