The Daily Gets a Scathing Review from John Gruber

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Well, The Daily – the much-awaited iPad-only newspaper – is not exactly off to a flying start. Far from it. Nearly all the reviews I’ve seen of it range from lukewarm at best to very big thumbs down. John Gruber at Daring Fireball raked it over the coals yesterday.

Among the highlights, or from The Daily’s perspective lowlights:

I’ve been reading The Daily each day since its debut Wednesday. Three days, three issues. My opinion of it has declined each day. Until I see an updated version of the app, I’m done with it.

As I mentioned yesterday, that’s my same feeling – less impressive each day.

Gruber not only noticed the slowness of The Daily’s annoying new issue downloads, he quantified them:

I noticed yesterday that it took way too long to load the day’s new issue. Today, I timed it. From the time I tapped the icon on my home screen until I could read a single page, today’s issue took one minute and twenty seconds. And to be clear, that was over a reasonably fast Wi-Fi connection.

One minute, twenty seconds. For over a minute of that time, this is all that I saw. At that point, it’s already a lost cause. There’s nothing the actual content or interface of the app can do to make up for the fact that it takes way too long to see anything at all.

This compares with his times for The New York Times’ iPad app at around 25 seconds and the excellent Flipboard app at a more 7 seconds.

Gruber rightly points out that the forced waiting for these downloads could well prove fatal for the app:

At their announcement event Wednesday, one of The Daily’s editors spoke about the remarkable amount of time that many iPad owners are willing to spend reading on their iPads each day. I’m sure that’s how they justify this deplorable launch time. If readers are going to spend 20, 30, maybe even 40 minutes reading The Daily each day, a one-minute launch time isn’t significant. But they’re wrong. It is significant, because the first minute is the most important minute. That’s the minute where the reader makes their impression of The Daily. Waiting is death.

Check out Gruber’s full post at Daring Fireball here:

The Daily really needs to get some major updates very soon – the reputation it’s building thus far is that of a big flop.

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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3 thoughts on “The Daily Gets a Scathing Review from John Gruber”

  1. Folks, there sure seems to be a lot of hype about The Daily. It feels like this is the only one out there. How about less articles about The Daily and a few more about other apps?

    1. I have been covering it a lot – mainly because the newspaper / magazine area is one of those I’m most interested in, and this is the first iPad only newspaper.

      Having said that, I will make sure I give plenty of other apps coverage in coming days.

  2. For my part I am a fan of neither the UI or the horrible sluggishness. So even if they make it snappy, I wont subscribe until they include the kind of navigation conventions we’re used to.

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