It’s hard to believe that it’s already been more than a year since we first laid eyes on the iPad. This was before the initial launch, but we saw the New York Times App and website demonstrated on Apple’s new device. It was exciting for fans of the iPhone and iPod Touch who were imagining the new ways to read the daily news.
Unfortunately, as far as news went, the iPad didn’t quite deliver. Magazine subscriptions were unavailable, and most of single issues were just as much if not more than the newsstand price. The New York Times App launched as an trimmed down version, and many commenters on the App Store said they would be happy to pay if the App were to receive the content we get from the newspaper. Right now, it’s free, but we aren’t quite sure how much it will cost when it goes into paid mode. Though the current price for the print edition is about $30 a month. There are also free Apps, but few (such as USA Today) have managed to succeed on that front.
Meet The Daily
The Daily tries to correct some of the past wrongs. First, they have lowered the asking price to a reasonable 99 cents a week. A dollar a week is an easy price for any user to say, “I can pay that.” It just doesn’t seem like a lot. Previous publications, like many of the magazines we’ve seen on the iPad (TIME, anyone?), don’t seem to take much consideration into pricing. If they do, they are doing a horrible job. The 99 cents a day amounts to about $50 a year, but the yearly rate will discount that a bit as it costs $40 to pay it all at once.
Using the Daily
The Daily welcomes you with a short splash screen and opens to the carousel. From the carousel, you can flip through the individual pages or switch between sections such as News, Gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, etc. The local weather conditions are displayed on the top-right portion of the screen (tapping on that will take you to your five day forecast). Hit a page to pull it up for reading. From there, you can simply swipe to turn the page.
There are interactive elements placed throughout the Daily as well as advertisements throughout. The layout of these ads make the Daily feel like a traditional magazine, but offer the options you would normally have today such as viewing a trailer, purchasing on iTunes or sharing on Facebook.
How About the Articles?
Of course what matters here are the articles. Right? Don’t worry, the news is there. Now, we know it’s only the first day, so it may be unfair to say we don’t see a whole lot in the news department. It could also be that the happenings in Egypt and a little cold weather in the US are taking over most of today’s news. Still, this may mean that the Daily won’t yet be our one-stop shop for world news. We are sure that will improve greatly over time. We just wouldn’t be doing our job by failing to mention this.
You can comment on and share articles as you would on any website. You can even record a comment in audio. Sharing can be done via Facebook, Twitter or Email. Videos shared will be viewable on the html site in Flash format. You can even clip stories you like for reading at a later time. Some articles cannot be shared. One we found on Venice that featured a 360¬∫ panorama was only viewable on The Daily, and we received the message below:
We checked out the website, and noticed that you can’t view the news directly from the web. Rather, you are shown a splash page with a link to the iPad download. What’s interesting is that the news is archived on the internet, which is how the Daily allows for content to be shared. You can do a Google search and find an article, but you won’t find articles on Google news. This is likely to give readers more reason to keep turning to their iPad.
This is going to be an interesting step in digital publishing. Having subscribers pay for content may help revitalize the journalism industry. The price is also very reasonable, and this is only the start of what could become a very great iPad App. The subscription process is also very easy. It takes a few steps and before you know it you can be receiving the daily for 99 cents a day or a yearly price of $39.99 which is about $12 off the weekly rate (after a year’s time).
Our biggest gripe right now is the overall speed of the App. Turning pages whether on the carousel is a bit slow and the images have compression artifacts. Turning them from within the App often has a noticeable loading time. This may improve with time, or may be Apple’s way of telling us it’s soon time to get an iPad 2. We will see how things pan out. Aside from that, some of us had issues. While some were able to access things like Rihanna’s Twitter feed immediately, others had a blank. Whether this is a problem with Twitter or with the App, we don’t know for sure. Still, it was frustrating for those who were unable to see it.
The Daily is a nice start to what could be a wonderful future for a subscription-based news outlet. Some may argue that paying for news content is a thing of the past, but it’s also true that many of the websites and blogs get their content from traditional publications like. Those publications would probably not survive without some form of income coming from subscriptions.
That said, the Daily is promising, but still has a few bugs and performance issues to work out. You probably won’t be using it as your only source for news in the near future. Still, the price is right, and we feel that it’s worth supporting a publication to continue to see it grow.
3.5 out of 5