Ever since Apple told magazine publishers about its rules for the iPad and iPhone (that Apple gets a 30 percent cut and its subscription service must be used) those companies have been complaining about it. Recently Conde Nast and Hearst caved and started offering magazines with Apple’s system because – at least in part – they probably never believed Apple would budge on its requirements.
However, in a totally unanticipated – and unannounced – move, Apple has indeed backed down. According to The New York Times, “Under the new rules, companies can sell the subscriptions on their own Web site at any price they choose, and still offer them through apps on Apple devices.”
Who knows what has made Apple change its rules, but it’s going to have a big impact on the iPad and publishers. Perhaps Steve Jobs is just getting soft in his old age. If he starts wearing sweats to WWDCs we should probably start worrying about him.