You’ve heard all about The Daily, but is it worth downloading?

Feb 3, 2011
Tech

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. put forth months of time and $30 million to create the iPad-exclusive app The Daily, which hit the App Store Wednesday morning. A newspaper-magazine hybrid and the first of its kind to create daily content specifically for the iPad, The Daily promises to deliver more than 100 pages of new content […]

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. put forth months of time and $30 million to create the iPad-exclusive app The Daily, which hit the App Store Wednesday morning. A newspaper-magazine hybrid and the first of its kind to create daily content specifically for the iPad, The Daily promises to deliver more than 100 pages of new content every day. But this content won’t come for free—The Daily, run under the umbrella of The Daily Holdings Inc., expects users to pay either 99 cents per week or $39.99 for a yearly subscription. Although I was happy to see The Daily provide users with a free two-week trial, my initial impressions of the app were mixed.

Upon launch, The Daily downloads the current day’s issue (progress is indicated at the top of the screen, but you don’t have to wait for it to finish) and displays a carousel of the edition’s pages. As you swipe through the round, the lower bar will indicate which section you’re currently looking browsing. Don’t linger on a thumbnail long—too much idling and the app will rotate the carousel for you. You can pop up video on this page via the hidden tool bar at the bottom or you can launch the audio player. This tool bar also gives you access to articles you’ve saved for later. The design of the homepage was OK, but I preferred looking at the issue as if it was an actual publication, in full-screen format.

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Double-tapping a thumbnail takes you into The Daily’s pages, which have a true magazine feel to them. Most of the stories were extremely short, which lends itself to easy readability, but doesn’t give much for readers looking for a true broadsheet experience. The included photos are stunning, however, and I found the video sections to be mostly well done (no playing errors here).

One thing in The Daily is clear—this is true iPad content. While the length of the stories left something to be desired, I have nothing but good things to say about the app’s iPad-specific interface. Tapping the colored circles found throughout the app give users supplementary content, such as blurbs on an infographic, or used as jumps to a particular story. As you swipe through the pages you’ll come across 360-degree photos that autoplay. Videos are denoted with a large play button (that adds to rather than detracts from the app’s design) and launch within the story page. Other stories include icons instructing users to flip the iPad to view a video or photo slideshow. The Daily also utilizes its infinite space by allowing users to pull content up from the bottom (a sports line for instance), as well as in from the sides. The app is usable in both landscape and portrait modes, which gives flexibility. Like any other publication, ads are included, but I found them to load more slowly than editorial pages, so they easily skippable (but ads, too, are designed with iPad in mind).

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The Daily offers functions for sharing via email, but because of its pay structure not all stories are available for sharing. There is also integrated Facebook and Twitter, along with The Daily’s own comment system that lets users post text or voice thoughts.

It remains to be seen in the coming weeks if The Daily will be a viable news outlet—the content stands in comparison to print pubs, but is a bit outdated in terms of its web competitors—or if its pay structure will be a success. But the free trial makes this app a no-brainer for download. The Daily is certainly one to watch and see what happens.

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