Apple Inc. and Time Inc. have struck a deal to give free iPad editions of Sports Illustrated, TIME and Fortune magazines to print subscribers of these publications, as initially reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed for AD by a Time Inc. spokeswoman. People magazine has had a similar deal between Apple and on the tablet device.

“It’s basically just a step in the right direction for us,” a spokeswoman for Time Inc. says. “We’ve obviously been in talks with them for a long time trying to get our content on the iPad because it’s picking up speed. We want to be everywhere where our consumers are going to be.”

A print subscriber is issued an account number that appears on the address bar section of the publication. When logging in to an app the reader will enter the account number when prompted with the question “Are you a current subscriber?”

“You just enter your account number and then you’re in. It’s like an access code, almost. It’s really simple for the subscribers that way,” the spokeswoman says.

While Time Inc. doesn’t have projections right now for how many people will be both print subscribers and iPad readers, the spokeswoman did say that nearly half of all People subscribers who also own an iPad have activated their accounts on the tablets so far.

People has 2.2 million print subscribers, per the publisher’s December 2010 Publisher’s Statement. The average price of an annual print subscription is $116. A single digital issue of People magazine for the iPad is $3.99 each. The Bloomberg Businessweek app offers a similar deal to its customers, as initially reported by AD.

Financial terms of the deal between Apple and Time Inc. remain unclear; the spokeswoman was unable to provide more detail.

“As far as I know there’s no way for them to track [this] and there’s no revenue stream for them [Apple] for this [deal], they’re our subscribers and it’s an added benefit for them,” she says. “We do have apps in the app store and you can still buy single copies in Apple’s app store but for this particular arrangement where, if you’re a current subscriber and you can authenticate, those are just Time Inc. subscribers that are getting this added benefit.”

The spokeswoman could only say the deal gives increased value to those subscribing to the print publications.

Sports Illustrated has seen a rocky road since signing on with Apple – in July 2010, Apple forced Sports Illustrated to remove their sub model and drop back to single copy sale only.