Apple Rumored to be Starting News Subscription Service

As some loyal readers may remember, writing for Apple Gazette is not my only gig. I’m also the editor of a magazine which is going national this month. It’s a lot of pressure, but as is to be expected, I’ve been making a big push to get an iPad app for the book, and now I’ve got clearance to do so. I called up my developer buddy almost immediately, and now we’re starting on the beginnings of a legit iPad app.

But almost immediately, I ran into the same problem that most publishers are facing currently: Subscriptions. In an ideal world, I would like to allow my readers to buy a subscription to the magazine that would accomodate both the printed and iPad versions, but right now there is no current model for that to happen. Hopefully that will change soon.

At least that’s the word according to Bloomberg.

Both The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News have reported that Apple is working on a “digital newsstand” venture that would handle subscriptions for newspaper and magazine publishers through the iTunes store. To publishers starved for revenue and eager to see the iPad as a route to the promised land of paying customers, this probably seems a great idea. They should be careful what they wish for. Is gaining a revenue stream worth giving up control over their relationship with readers—and advertisers?

In our case, this isn’t an issue. That’s because our publication doesn’t take any money from advertisers, and is purely sales based. But hopefully, something will happen with this soon, that way I can get our iPad app out on the road with the subscription service right out of the box.

Jorno Bluetooth Keyboard Up for Preorder

One of the nice things about the iPad – and now the iPhone with iOS 4 – is the ability to use a Bluetooth keyboard. Fortunately enough, Apple has a handy-dandy one that isn’t too big, but it’s still large enough that it’s not always convenient to haul around with you wherever you go, particularly with the iPhone. Portable keyboards are nothing new, but Jorno is hoping that theirs is a bit better than others. Why?

That’s a good question. Well, it comes with a detachable stand that will hold your iPhone or iPod easily, and also folds up to a small enough size to pop into your pocket. The keyboard is slightly smaller than your standard jobber, but I don’t imagine that will be incredibly inconvenient. For me though, it looks a bit tall and I’m not quite sure what the throws of the keys are like. That’s important to me, so until it’s released out in the open, I’m going to reserve judgement.

However if you want all in on this one, go ahead and plunk down some cash. It’s $79.99 on preorder, and should ship in the next few months.

Mount Your Mini Under Your Desk

I get inspired when I see people modifying their workspaces to better accomodate their needs. For me, desk space is pretty critical. I’ve considered making some kind of under-desk dock for my MacBook and running a single large monitor instead of the dual setup I have going now, but I just haven’t made up my mind yet. Now comes a cool idea for the Mac Mini that works under that same principle.

It’s called the MiClassic Mount Bracket, and it’s a stand that mounts underneath your desk. It also comes with a front-mount USB hub, which is also nice for accessibility. But for me, I see other uses for this thing.

Imagine using it in your living room. Mount it under a shelf on your entertainment unit, which is great when you have fixed-height shelves with lots of room to stack items, but that’s always the best for heating and cooling. By mounting the Mini to the bottom of a shelf, you keep it off the ground and it looks great, too. And if you need frequent access to the back of the computer, they have a pivoting version of the stand as well.

I love cool things like this, and for $54.99, it’s hard to skip. Well, at least if you have a Mac Mini, anyways.

The Best iPad Case Ever

One of my greatest childhood frustrations was the Etch a Sketch. No matter how hard I tried, I never was able to create a cool design or picture with the thing, and it drove me nuts. Eventually, I hucked it across the room in frustration and stormed off. Inevitably, a week or so later I’d go and pick it up and try again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

But this is legitimately cool. It’s an official Etch A Sketch iPad Case, and better yet, it’s cheap. $39, which is cheaper than most iPad cases out there today, and it also doubles as a hiding box for your iPad, because really, who’s going to jack your Etch A Sketch?

From the official PR:

But the Etch A Sketch® iPad case is more than just cool!  It is specially designed to protect and enhance your iPad.  Made of impact resistant plastic, the Etch A Sketch® iPad case will help protect your iPad.  Rubber feet and a felt backing gently cradle your iPad inside the Etch A Sketch® case.  Strategically placed windows throughout the Etch A Sketch® iPad case allow for easy use of all your iPad switches, ports, and buttons.  And retractable kick stands allow you to either lay your iPad flat, or angle it for easy use of the iPad keyboard.

That’s an awful lot of features in a $39 case, but it’s also cool looking. It’s win-win to me.

iPod Upgrading on the Cheap

[image via Unplggd]

I’m not a huge fan of the new iPod lineup. The iPod Touch is nice, but it doesn’t have enough capacity for me. Granted, there aren’t any iPods that can hold my 230GB iTunes library, but if we’re talking about just music, I’m only at 36GB or so, which my ancient iPod Photo 40GB can handle just fine. I also seem to have an emotional attachment to the old music player, and frankly, it’s so old at this point that no one wants to steal the thing.

But I know that someday it’s going to fail, because all hard drives will eventually fail in one way or another. That’s why when I found this post on Unplggd, my interest perked up. Here’s the gist: Your older iPod’s hard drive fails, and you want to keep it around. Just pop open the iPod, take out the old drive and replace it with a compact flash card. Being that compact flash cards are cheap and plentiful (at least in my house), this is an affordable way to keep your old iPod in use.

It’s recycling at its finest.