The New York Times has today announced the launch of an HTML5 Web app, designed for the iPad.

Billed as “a new benefit exclusively for select subscribers,” the app presents content from the news organization in four formats: Trending, Times Wire, Today’s Paper, and All Sections.

The move is an interesting one, as it opens the way for the New York Times to sidestep Apple’s Newsstand fee of 30%, charged on subscriptions via the native iPad app. This is a move that was successfully pioneered by the Financial Times. The NYT isn’t outright saying this though, simply billing it as the latest addition to its ‘NYT Everywhere’ Strategy. NYT Everywhere launched in June, when the company brought its paywalled content to Flipboard.

Screen Shot 2012 10 02 at 13.23.47 520x259 The New York Times launches experimental HTML5 iPad Web app: Preparing to skip Apples Newsstand fee?

If the New York Times was to go HTML5 entirely and remove its native iOS app , as the FT has, this would be an embarrassing blow for Apple – the NYT was a launch partner for Newsstand. The FT opted for an HTML5 approach as a result of its concerns about the lack of data Apple made available of user activity from the App Store and the 30% cut that Apple takes from subscription transactions via Newsstand.

The Web app supports the iPad’s Safari browser, and subscribers who have paid for tablet access can install it from App.NYTimes.com.

UPDATE: The New York Times tells us:

“The Times has no plans to remove its native iOS app. The new Web App is just another way to read The Times. This experimental Web App is part of our NYT Everywhere Strategy–we want to be where are readers are, expanding our reach to all strong and promising mobile platforms and technology.”

Still, the launch of the HTML5 app certainly puts the company in a position to make such a move if it wants to in the future.

Image credit: Ramin Talaie / Getty Images