If you’re a publisher, there are two ways you can give iPad users access to your content:
- Sign up to Apple’s developer and publisher programme, and be prepared to hand over 30% of the income to them, in return for distribution via the App Store
- Make a webapp, and carve your own path
The editorial team at the Financial Times have taken option 2, with fascinating results.
Their new FT app uses HTML5 standards to create something that looks and feels really slick on an iPad. As slick as a native application.
But it isn’t native, it runs on the web, inside Apple’s Mobile Safari web browser.
That means it is entirely beyond Apple’s control. The FT can charge a fee to readers, and collect payment through the app without having to hand some of it over to Apple. They have total control.
Of course, they lose out on access to the App Store, which is an excellent way of getting your software in front of millions of people. But with a newspaper of their own to promote the app with, that shouldn’t bother them too much.
What we find most interesting about this is the continued strength of the web as a platform.
Although we love our iPhones as much as everyone else, we strongly believe that the web is a more powerful, more flexible, and more cost-effective platform for delivering content to mobile users. With HTML5 standards, it’s possible to build excellent webapps not just for iOS, but for Android and other platforms too. They’re called standards for a reason – they work everywhere.