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Apple turns to Murdoch for iSlate content

HarperCollins in the hunt for the pork

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Apple is reportedly in talks with HarperCollins for the publisher to provide content for the upcoming iSlate.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has been talking to HarperCollins about selling eBooks for the iSlate - or whatever Apple decides to call the Newton's successor - along with details of how exactly "enhanced eBooks" will differ from their dead-tree contemporaries.

There's the usual talk of embedding video, and social networking features, which will no-doubt form part of the Apple model.

It's worth noting, however, that HarperCollins is part of News Corp - as is the Journal itself. Rupert Murdoch fiefdom News Corp is tied up with the consortium of publishers creating a "new digital storefront and related technology". Time Inc. is also part of that effort, and has been talking up magazines-on-tablets for a month or two now.

One could even link the whole thing to Murdoch's much-discussed plan to make readers pay for content, if one wanted to join all the dots.

But even the WSJ isn't going that far, only suggesting that author interviews and pictures might bulk out Apple's eBook offerings - much like the "additional content" that helped justify the additional cost of DVD over VHS for the first few years.

Given that the iSlate will, almost certainly, share the iPhone's controlled-by-Cupertino platform, it's ideally suited to the legal distribution of copyright material. iTunes could be expanded to incorporate the selling of literary content; as opposed to the every-book-is-an-application model employed by most eBooks sold for the iPhone.

Magazines featuring embedded video and sold by subscription could well follow in time, but probably not next week. ®

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