iOS 4.3 release rumored for December

The update will reportedly enable publishers to charge for recurring subscriptions, via an App Store application.

Days after Apple released the iOS 4.2 software update for iPhones and iPads, another update to the OS is rumored to be arriving in December, together with News Corp's iPad-only news app. A corroborated report from Apple-centric blog MacStories claims that at some point in mid-December Apple will release iOS 4.3, which will enable publishers to charge for recurring subscriptions.

The timing of this rumor coincides with reports this week that media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Apple CEO Steve Jobs are working toward a December release of the first iPad-only news outlet called The Daily . The publication would hire 100 journalists and charge $1 per week for content subscription, and won't have a print or Web presence. A French blog [translation] also went through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and claims to have discovered the actual icon for The Daily on the iPad.

Apple's iOS 4.2 does not feature a solution that would enable publishers to charge App Store users for recurring subscriptions. Currently, publishers employ two methods: users either buy a magazine issue by issue using in-app purchases (like Wired or Time apps), or have to subscribe and pay online for access to content via the iPad app (like Wall Street Journal and Financial Times apps).

The iOS 4.3 rumors point toward Apple's introduction of a system that allows publishers to charge users automatically for subscriptions to their content, via an App Store app. The reports put the launch date around mid-December, and some expect Steve Jobs to take to the stage alongside Rupert Murdoch to introduce the update. It is unknown whether the rumored update would be able to push content to users, instead of having to open an app to get the latest news.

Apple, as usual, is keeping quiet on rumors and speculation about iOS 4.3 and its collaboration with Murdoch for The Daily. If Apple indeed launches iOS 4.3 in December with recurring subscription support, it won't be only The Daily benefiting. Other publishers would also be able to implement the method in their apps, solidifying the iPad's potential as a universal reading device.

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Daniel Ionescu

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