While today marks the release of The Daily, the first newspaper designed specifically for the iPad, it actually marks a much more significant shift for Apple’s iOS platform. The Daily is also the first iOS App to feature native subscription billing, integrated with the iTunes store just like the in-app purchases that have been around since iOS 3.x was released back in 2009.
Apple updated the iTunes store terms and conditions just a short while ago with some of the finer details of how it all works.
Like most content in the iTunes Store, and like most Apps in the App store, subscription content sales are final, and there are no refunds.
Once you authorize the subscription, it will automatically bill you 24 hours before the next subscription period starts. So for instance if you choose to pay for The Daily on a weekly basis, you would be charged $0.99 one day before the next week starts.
In the event that the subscription price is raised by the content provider, automatic payments will be turned off by Apple until you have a chance to approve the new higher price.
Perhaps most importantly, Apple has built in a system for content providers to access your name, email address and the zip code of your billing address for marketing purposes, however you will be asked to authorize the release of your information before it is ever given out, and Apple specifically notes that if you decline to share your information with a content provider it will not affect your subscription or your purchase of that app.
While The Daily is the first App to make use of the new subscription billing system, it isn’t difficult to imagine other Apps doing the same thing with video content or music if Apple allows it.
We don’t have the full story on revenue sharing yet but we’ll update this story when we find out. It isn’t hard to imagine some content providers being unhappy with the idea of sharing up to 30% of their subscription fees with Apple either.