‘The Daily’ Newspaper iPad App Review

the-daily-logoReading on the iPad is a big business. Whether you’re checking out the latest comic book, your favourite magazine or the daily newspaper, there is an abundance of apps to cater for your needs.

Most of these publications, however, already existed in one form or another before the iPad came along. In this respect, The Daily is something completely different, something completely new and unexplored. It’s an iPad-exclusive daily newspaper from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Currently available only on the U.S. app store, The Daily contains stories in six main categories: News, Gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, Apps & Games, and Sports. When you open the application, the latest issue of the newspaper will be downloaded on to your iPad. Over Wi-Fi, the paper took no longer than 2 minutes to be downloaded on to my device, but it may take significantly longer over a 3G connection due to the contents inside each issue, such as high resolution images and embedded video.

The Carousel is the first screen that you see when you enter The Daily iPad app, and allows you to flick through the contents of the magazine in a cover-flow like manner. If you see something that interests you, you can tap on the preview to be taken in to the full story. Although this is version 1.0 of the app, there is a noticeable lag when scrolling through the stories on the Carousel, and the animation isn’t as smooth as it could be. I’d expect issues such as this to be ironed out in the next few weeks, although it’s unclear whether the performance issues are down to the hardware on the Apple iPad, or the software itself.

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Navigation through the newspaper is quite similar to how you navigate through PROJECT, Richard Branson’s iPad only magazine. You can simply scroll left and right to flick back and forth between the pages, and rotate the screen of the iPad for additional content, such as a photo gallery of a particular story.

For the most part, flicking between pages without interactive content doesn’t have any problems, but when flicking to a page that had extra content, such as an embedded video, present, the page sometimes didn’t render perfectly, or two pages were skipped instead of one. On two occasions, the application actually crashed on me when flicking to a page with video content, so this is an issue that will definitely have to be worked out rather soon.

Despite the odd technical drawback, I’m glad to say that the content on The Daily looks absolutely stunning. The cover images may have discrete zooms, or some charts within an article may be animated, and this really adds an extra dimension to the paper as a whole that you just couldn’t experience with an everyday newspaper.

The images in the galleries all have a really high resolution and look absolutely fantastic on the iPad’s display. The only complaint I have about the image gallery is that when you’re flicking through images, and then rotate back, you’ll have jumped quite a few pages forward unless you go back to the start of the gallery. It would be much easier if you could rotate back to the story and pick up where you left off!

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I’ve found the content itself to be incredibly polished, and the writing is of course of an incredibly high standard. However, as with most new publications, it sometimes struggles to make an impression based on the writer’s own views. In many cases it seems to be completely void of any political views whatsoever, and it may take a while for the writing team to find their feet in this respect. Whether this is intentional, and News Corp. want to distance themselves from any comparisons with the love-or-hate FOX news channel in America, is anyone’s guess.

The one hope I had for The Daily when I heard about the project a couple of months ago was that it could replace my daily newspaper entirely, giving me all the content that I need to consume. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a mass of content available to do that. There are a few stories in each category, but nowhere near as much content as one would find in a physical paper such as The Daily Telegraph.

For this reason, I can’t say that The Daily will be my only source for news every day, but the app is certainly a great start and a step in the right direction for digital news distribution. Besides, at $0.99 for a week’s subscription or $39.99 a year, nobody can argue against the price : content ratio.

If you live in the US, or have a US iTunes account, then you can download The Daily app for free. All content is free for the first two weeks, courtesy of Verizon, so you can try it out until February 14th to see if it’s for you.

If you have any thoughts about The Daily iPad app, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear what you think.

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