For $10 a month, Apple News Plus offers articles from more than 300 magazines, but only three newspapers.
Despite a potential audience of millions of iPhone users, newspaper publishers may be wise to be skeptical.
"Is this the thing that's going to save media? The answer is 'no.' It's not one thing," said Jim Brady, who built a local-news business, Spirited Media, and now consults with media companies.
Media companies have struggled to adapt to readers' shift online and the surge of free articles the web made possible. Even prominent digital-media outlets have had layoffs or been sold off.
More people are getting news through technology platforms such as Facebook. Still, publishers want readers to care about news brands and pay for news and events. For that, they need more control over how they interact with readers. Many publishers want to build their own sites and customer base rather than be at the whim of giant technology companies.
"Publishers have been down this path before, with Facebook," said Tim Franklin, senior associate dean of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.