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Apple tells newspapers: no free iPad edition for print subscribers

A number of European newspapers have reportedly been told by Apple that they can no longer offer paid print subscribers free access to an iPad edition through the App Store, as the subscription strategy leaves Apple out of its 30 percent cut.

According to a report issued Friday by deVolkskrant (via Google Translate), Apple has employed "stricter rules" for publishers, informing them that they cannot offer free iPad access to paid print subscribers. By offering free access to print subscribers, newspapers could avoid charging for access through the iPad, and can avoid paying Apple a 30 percent cut of all transactions on the App Store.

In addition, reported Friday (via Google Translate) that Apple will no longer allow newspapers to offer free access to print subscribers after April 1. Content providers are upset with the change, characterizing the move as one that makes Apple "too dominant."

The alleged changes sent out to publishers by Apple come as the company is believed to be working on an update to iOS, its mobile operating system that powers the iPad, that will allow recurring subscriptions for software on the App Store. It is Apple's preparation for the new subscription option that is believed to have allegedly delayed the release of The Daily, a new iPad-only newspaper from media giant News Corporation.

While a number of reports from overseas claim that Apple has contacted publications to inform them of the changes, no such reports have yet emerged from any newspapers in the U.S.

It's possible that the application programming interfaces necessary to allow recurring software subscriptions through the App Store could be a part of the currently-in-beta iOS 4.3, though the first build of the software released for testing to developers this week makes no mention of such a feature. Rumors have suggested the iOS 4.3 update could be publicly released in March.

Apple is rumored to show off the feature, along with The Daily, at a forthcoming event in San Francisco. Numerous reports have indicated that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs will share the stage with News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.