The Daily – the first iPad-only newspaper app – has had another minor update this weekend, to Version 1.0.3. Once you’ve applied the update, you get a nice little welcome message when you first launch the app. It lets you know that your free period with the app has been extended (mine goes until March 21st) and states that the developers have been listening to users’ feedback – “you talked, we listened”. It also says the devs hope that users enjoy this ‘faster, more stable version of The Daily’.
Sadly, there is really not much at all to enjoy in terms of improvements to the app. For starters, as with all three of the app’s updates so far, the update is not delivered as a typical iPad / iOS update. You’re asked to delete your existing version of the app and then reinstall the app like new from the App Store. If this was a one-off it would be just a little awkward – with three updates in a row requiring this, it’s more of stupid pain in the rear.
I also don’t see much evidence of ‘faster’ thus far. The app takes around 10-15 seconds to launch even when it does not have an issue update loading. That’s still way too slow. When there’s a new issue loading (which happens several times a day) it is still at 25-30 seconds load time.
The carousel used for main navigation in the app is still jerky and awkward to use, and pages still load slowly at times.
The Daily also still does not remember where you left off reading each time you exit and go back into the app. This is the same even if you just switch away from the app and then back to it via the multitasking bar. This is easily the app’s worst miss as far as I’m concerned. It is just plain dumb, especially when combined with the general slowness of the app. It means that if you switch away from the app to do anything at all, here’s the user experience:
— You were halfway through an interesting article and you switch away to check your email
— You tap on The Daily to switch back quickly via the Multitasking Bar
— The app takes 10-15 seconds to load (or 25-30 if it updating content)
— You don’t land back on the article you were reading, but just back at the default starting point in the navigation carousel
— You swipe through the carousel to find the article you were just reading – which is far from quick because the carousel jerks and jumps awkwardly while you move through it
— You find the article and tap on it – and wait again while it loads, sometimes quickly, sometimes not so much
Sounds crappy right? And that’s if you just switch away from the app once. Now just picture what it’s like if you switch away several times while reading The Daily. It’s pulling your hair out level of annoying; it feels dumb more than anything.
Comon Daily developers – get at least just this basic thing right, please.
Oh, and The Daily also fails to load pages in the background properly just after an issue update – so often when you tap an article in the table of contents you’ll be greeted with this error:
So yeah, what is it again that we’re meant to be enjoying here?