Newspapers have been available online -- and through digital subscriptions on Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN) Kindles -- for years. It's really just a matter of time before the model works its way into the colorful realm of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad.

Silicon Valley's Mercury News is reporting this week that Apple is getting ready to introduce a way for print publishers to reach out to the growing base of iPad owners, a welcome break from the perpetual slides in print circulation and ad revenue.

There are no specifics, though the article details a digital publishing executive that figures that Apple will settle for a mere 30% of the subscription revenue and a slightly chunkier 40% stake of the ad revenue.

If we're assuming that Apple will be the one serving up the targeted ads, this could be a pretty sweet deal for publishers. Color-riffic newspapers such as Gannett's (NYSE: GCI) USA TODAY don't look right on the Kindle, even if the publication is the third most popular digital newspaper subscription for the e-reader.

As long as subscriptions are at reasonable discounts to the print versions, this could work. At the very least, it will give local newspapers outside of the national heavies a shot at reaching readers everywhere.

Yes, worldwide. Apple has been slowly deploying the gadget into select overseas markets. Starting tomorrow, China Unicom (NYSE: CHU) will make Wi-Fi iPads available in the world's most populous nation.

Rolling out the digital newspaper subscriptions won't be a stretch, fitting perfectly into Apple's existing bookstore app on the iPad. However, the promising flow of Web-based ad revenue once again makes Apple seem even more like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).

Apple and Google used to be BFFs, but now they seem to be pitted against one another at every turn.

Who will throw the next punch? Maybe you can read all about it from the iPad paperboy on the corner.

Would you subscribe to a daily newspaper through your iPad? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns a Kindle and iPad, but he used his iPad a lot more. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.