Watch out Apple! App publishers choose to go the web-app way instead.
In my previous post about the Smartphone wars -“ Android vs Apple – I had touched upon the point that some people feel that Apple may have adopted a rather restrictive approach when it comes to their devices and the app store. While consumers have to get used to downloading apps from the Apple store, the deal is not so sweet for the app publishers.
This is what a recent HBR post says –
An interesting battle is looming over Apple’s newspaper and magazines subscription pricing for iOS devices (notably the iPad). Apple’s offer to publishers is simple. They can offer an app that allows consumers to buy individual issues of their content or to subscribe to it from within the app; the publisher sets the pricing. But Apple will take a 30 percent cut of the revenues and it will also require the publisher not to undercut the price offered to iPad app users.
Which is why we now see newspaper and magazine publishers – the likes of Playboy and Financial Times – coming up with an interesting way of bypassing the Apple App Store. These gutsy app publishers have chosen to make iPad optimised websites rather than apps that are downloadable only through the Apple app-store. While for Playboy it might be that they do not qualify for Apple’s strict no-nudity policy, for FT, in their own words –
Firstly, the HTML5 FT Web App means users can see new changes and features immediately. There is no extended release process through an app store and users are always on the latest version.
Secondly, developing multiple ‘native’ apps for various products is logistically and financially unmanageable. By having one core codebase, we can roll the FT app onto multiple platforms at once.
Well Playboy’s and FT’s reasoning does seem to be sound from the user’s perspective too. While with the use of HTML 5, there is close to no compromise on the experience of the app – you can still touch, swipe and flick your way through the app – the user is also not forced to get tied down to a medium and can access the same content on any device via the mobile web app route. This is also perhaps clear writing on the wall for Apple on exactly what they are doing wrong by having such a strong control over their app store. Clearly where Android seems to be scoring higher points.
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