There’s been an incredible amount of buzz around The Daily, an iPad-only digital newspaper/magazine from News Corp (parent company of The Wall Street Journal and the Fox News Channel). Before its release in mid-January, this buzz was mostly positive – but its arrival steered the feedback sharply to the negative.
Because first few versions of The Daily were buggy, slow and – quite frankly – frustrating. Reactions the actual content of the daily news magazine took a backseat to its lousy performance, which was surely not the want of the folks behind the digital publication.
But v1.0.3 of the app just hit the iTunes Store, and this version has addressed many of the problems of those that came before. The Daily [iTunes Store link]has now climbed its way into my recommended category, and it’s the first of this week’s App Picks.
The Daily was designed from the jump as a digital publication, and this decision shows itself shows itself throughout the app. Carrousel menus, animated graphics, embedded video, and links pepper the app, and mostly have the feel of being there for a reason (though there are the occasional okay, I get it, you can animate page features moments). Most of the design and layout choices are good ones.
The magazine’s content is divided into sections focusing on news, gossip, opinion, arts, tech and sports. You can jump to different sections with a menu bar at the top or bottom of each screen or flip, from front to back, through the entire publication with slides of your finger. In addition to written content, there are also daily photo collections as well as Soduku and Crossword puzzles.
In general, the in-house articles are interesting and well-written, and if you want to share what you’ve read with a friend or those following you on Twitter or Facebook, you can email links or post them to the two social networks from within the app. You can also bookmark individual articles to go back and read them later.
The Wall Street Journal and Fox News are widely considered right-leaning news sources, and while some who label them as such wildly exaggerate the tilt, there’s no question that there is truth in this. The Daily – at least so far – doesn’t seem to be following suit; many articles (particularly in the Opinion section) lean left. And the “hard news” stories are largely as neutral as you’re likely to find – which is to say: neutral to a point.
Items I would like to see addressed in future releases are multitasking (or at least resume) support, improved video quality, and higher resolution full-page graphics. And the app’s general speed, while better than before, could still use improvement. At present, there are also ads in The Daily, which may be a function of it’s currently being offered at no charge, but once the pay wall goes up, these ads should either disappear or be kept at an absolute minimum.
The Daily is free until March 21st, at which time the publication will be $1 per week, or about $0.14 per day, which isn’t bad if you find the content useful. The Daily is expected for Android tablets later this year, and its price is expected to remain the same.
If you’ve installed a previous version of The Daily and stopped using it based on performance woes, be sure to uninstall it before upgrading to v1.0.3. And if you’ve tried-and-deleted The Daily from your iPad, give it another shot. It’ll be free for another three weeks.
M. Nichols, Products Editor