Hulu recently updated its hugely popular iPad app called Hulu Plus in order to comply with Apple’s latest in-app purchase rules. The update simply removes the external link to Hulu’s main website where new users can sign up for a paid service.
Apple has updated its in-app purchase rules twice in recent past. Initially the company was looking at forcing all content / service providers to offer subscription using Apple’s system where the company would get a 30% of all sales. However, when many publishers seemed to be not in favour of the new rules Apple made the subscription policy easier to comply with. The new rule will ban “apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app.”
Overall, this works in the favor of most apps offering subscription based content however the publishers won’t be able to tap new subscribers using Apple’s ecosystem.
Apple has been heavily promoting newspaper and magazine subscriptions on the App Store. There’s even a dedicated app in iOS 5 called ‘Newsstand’ that will keep all your subscriptions in place and download new issues automatically when available.
Magazines and Newspapers being offered on Apple’s iPad offer a lot of value as you are not limited to just text anymore. The apps now feature interactive content like sound, animation and videos.
According to AllThingsD apps like Netflix and Rhapsody will also be updated in the coming days to comply with the new rules however it will be interesting to see if Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS will do away with the ‘Buy’ option.
One of the options these publishers would be looking at is offering HTML5 web apps for Mobile Safari. Financial Times is clearly looking at going ahead with the open platform of the web and control every aspect about its content.