The Daily for iPad – Some Early Impressions

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The Daily for iPad

So The Daily – the first ever iPad-only newspaper – finally launched yesterday. I say finally because it has got lots of coverage in the tech blog space (including here) in the weeks and months leading up to its launch.

I think it deserved a lot of the hype – regardless of whether it’s a big success or a huge flop – just because it is a genuine first and Rupert Murdoch and News Corp are definitely putting a lot into it. $30 million invested just in the development stage leading up to its release, a large and very experienced staff, drawn largely from the ranks of well established and large media organizations – and because again, succeed or fail, they’re certainly taking a big swing with this title.

I’m already a big fan and follower of newspaper and magazine titles on the iPad, so I’m as keen as anyone to see what The Daily is really made of. I installed the app as fast as I was able to yesterday, which was not as fast as I would’ve liked due to constant power outages in my area throughout the day yesterday. I did get it installed eventually though and have been browsing it a fair bit. Hit the break for a few more screenshots and some very early impressions of this notable new title …


Here are my very early, and very general, thoughts on The Daily, in no particular order:

New Journalism?

This is a tagline for The Daily that is shown near the top of the web page for it:

New times demand new journalism

Apart from being an iPad-only title, I’m not quite sure how well this line fits The Daily. The content and style of writing don’t strike me as unique in any way so far.

Installing the App

You have to agree to a new set of App Store terms and conditions when you install the app. There has been a new section added that covers In-App Subscriptions. It’s not a very long section and lets you know that: subscriptions are non-refundable and auto-renewing (though you can cancel the auto-renew).


The app is free for its first two weeks – thanks to a sponsorship from Verizon (Boy are they getting in tight with Apple these days). After two weeks it will be 99 cents a week or $39.99 for a year’s subscription. That works out to around 14 cents or 11 cents a day, respectively.

This is the first title to be allowed to offer In-App Subscription, and I’d say for what the title offers that’s quite a reasonable price point.

Content Mix

No great shocks here so far. The Daily is not heavy on heavyweight, in-depth articles. I haven’t seen any lengthy, in-depth articles and don’t really expect to. Its content mix leans toward the light and airy style – some photo-heavy, text light articles, a big section covering celebrity news and gossip, and so on.


I’m still getting to know the paper, but it’s safe to say this is not aimed at being a rival for The New York (or London) Times.

There’s no Technology section – which seems a big miss to me.

Nice Little Touches

It asks to use your location and to send you notifications right away – I’m glad to have it do both things, and like that right from first launch the app shows me local weather status on its main page.

The Daily for iPad

The page that shows you how to get around The Daily is well done. The Intro video ‘The Daily in Action’ is especially good.

There’s also a very nice video overview of each daily issue’s content. You can tap the screen during the video to jump out to one of the stories mentioned in it.

There’s a good amount of multimedia content in the first couple issues – including some cool Harlem Globetrotters instructional videos in the Sports section.


Even though the first two weeks are sponsored by Verizon, there are already some full page ads in the app, including a great movie trailer for the upcoming Rango with Johnny Depp.

The Daily for iPad

Some Lowlights

It’s very slow loading, even when launched from the Multitasking Bar.

It automatically downloads a new issue each morning, which is fine – but this is a little slow as well. It would be even nicer if it just added new content in the background, or incrementally as you open it each time.

The Daily for iPad

Today it has told me twice that it is downloading a new issue – once first thing this morning and again mid-afternoon. So either it ‘forgot’ that it had already done this, or it is requiring another new download for just some bits added during the day. Either way, that’s lame.

UPDATE: It’s doing it a third time while I went to check something in the app late this afternoon. Each time it is causing a good 30 second delay in opening the app. This is ugly.

It almost never remembers where I left off reading when I go out and back into the app. This is its worst fault so far – as this is a big timewaster in having to navigate back to an individual article each time.

It doesn’t always show the same content in portrait and landscape modes. I’d much prefer if it did.

I find some of its graphic elements on pages misleading – for example there’s a blue arrow at the bottom right of some pages. To me, this would generally mean either that I can tap it to reach some content or that its an indicator that this is a multi-page article. Neither is true – so I’m left wondering what the heck the arrow is there for.

There’s no search function within the app, and no way to contact or chat with article authors.

More to Come

I’m very much still just getting to know The Daily. I’ll be reading it every day and often, and will come back with a full review when I’ve spent a lot more time with it.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you all think of it as well. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

You can find The Daily in the App Store now, and it’s a free app for these first two weeks.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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10 thoughts on “The Daily for iPad – Some Early Impressions”

  1. I enjoy the live updated polls and Twitter integration. To me, that makes the Daily a bit unique. My local newspaper “Newsday” has a free iPad. It’s not as polished, but I think I might prefer it to the Daily. I’m sure content has something to do with that.

    I’d like to see more interaction — comments, etc. It might be there, but I haven’t seen them yet.

    1. Yeah, I’d like to see more interaction as well. I’m still getting to know it too – haven’t been through the Sports section all the way yet, or tried out their crosswords.

  2. Maybe it’s just me, but I found that it crashed.

    A lot.

    That’s kind of a deal breaker for me, so I deleted it.

  3. I found the lag unacceptable, and the overall UI/navigation scheme to be poorly thought out, and flat out confusing (it should not be difficult to ever get to an easy to parse, comprehensive index, whether complete or by section).

    Ill conceived.

    I deleted it after 20 frustrating minutes. I really wanted to like it too.

    1. Agree with Anthony. This app, though cool on the surface, is quite frustrating. When it works, its agonizingly slow (Apple needs to make subscriptions so that they can download in the background at night). And often, it doesnt work, and just crashes on me. I’m giving it one more change, then deleting the app.

    2. Me too! I couldn’t believe the lag time! Not just in loading the app, but in navigating from article to article, page to page etc. I found the whole UI clunky and very un-intuitive. I don’t understand how it is supposed to “new journalism,” either. New journalism is interaction (as others have mentioned) and culling news from multiple sources. I much prefer my regular news apps, that are so wonderfully easy to navigate, have more in depth news, and provide a variety of view points– Huffington Post, NYTimes, BBC, NPR etc.

      I wouldn’t have paid $.99 a week for this anyways, but I think I’m going to delete the app soon.

  4. Very light on actual news content; mostly feature articles that have little substance. Not a likely substitute for other news sources. Too bad it misses the mark; not worth the price.

  5. Thanks for all the comments. I have to admit, the app is looking worse and worse on Days 2 and 3 with it. It has not crashed often for me, but I am definitely seeing the lag in app loading / page loading etc. It also has two terrible faults in my usage: it nearly always fails to remember where you left off, so it’s damn near impossible to return to the article I was just looking at if I switch out of the app for a moment; and it shows me the ‘new issue being delivered’ screen multiple times per day. I would expect to see this maybe once a day (each morning). Not numerous times a day for just breaking news type content updates.

    I’ll post again on this soon.

  6. No tech section. News pieces are pretty weak by paper standards. Sports coverage could have been nice, but how about some standings, or say box scores? This is the worst of the NY Post without it’s best features (sports).

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