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With 300K app in the App Store, I can understand why they want to reduce that number. As you point out, the combination of web browsers and news web sites that detect and adjust to various sized devices should be sufficient. So we shouldn't mourn the loss of these apps any more than those apps that were for calling a single person. I believe that those are long gone.
However, there may be something more at work here. Watching the apparent collaboration between Apple and News Corp., one might suspect that new standard file formats for newspapers and magazines might be proposed sometime soon. These would directly compete with the ponderous proprietary solutions offered by Adobe.
A new newspaper file format might be based upon the current EPUB standard adding things such as multi-column layout.
A magazine file format based upon EPUB would be a little harder to do but not inconceivable when one considers the effort now underway to define EPUB 3.0.
The newspaper/magazine-as-application is a poor model for the post-print world because they defeat archiving and search. Imagine an historian 50 years post print trying to figure out what we were all about. As a usable chronicle of culture, the app is useless.
Here's an official indicator of where EPUB is headed:
Working Group Charter – Approved 5/24/10:
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