Extra, Extra Read All About It!
The first iPad-only daily newspaper, The Daily from News Corp., has landed in the U.S. iTunes App Store, along with a new in-app subscription feature from Apple. The Daily will cost 99 cents per week or $40 to subscribe for the entire year. [See The Daily in action.] The downloadable digital newspaper features all the sections you'd expect in a daily newspaper including front-page news, sports, arts, technology and gossip. It will also receive news alerts and updates throughout the day. "The iPad demands that we completely re-imagine our craft [journalism]," News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said during the launch of The Daily.
The Front Page
The first thing you see when opening a new issue of The Daily is a headline and an image from the issue's top news story. Today's top story is about the continuing protests in Egypt.
Your main point of entry for The Daily app will be a Cover Flow-like feature called the Carousel. You can quickly flip through each page of the current issue of The Daily or let the Carousel scroll by like a slideshow. Touching a section name at the bottom of the Carousel such as News or Sports will open the current issue of The Daily and take you directly to that section.
Beneath the Carousel is a control panel that lets you access features such as an introductory video summarizing The Daily's top stories (you must have a Wi-Fi connection to use), the paper clip icon bookmarks favorite articles, playback controls, and an icon for the app's settings. The Control Panel also has an audio option that lets you have The Daily read to you (Internet connection is required for this feature). The playback settings let you move to different story pages using the Carousel and can be used to specify stories you want to hear read to you. In the app's settings, you can register to leave comments in The Daily, manage your subscription, and also specify your location to customize local content such as weather forecasts.
Apps & Games
The Apps & Games section of The Daily features interactive Sudoko and Crossword puzzles for die-hard puzzle fans. I did try to get the Google iPhone app to solve the Sudoko puzzle, but it didn't work. There are also crossword puzzles and short news items about digital gaming.
The Daily features a special customizable sports section where you can follow your favorite sports teams for news, photos, highlights and game schedules. At the time of this writing, the customization features for this section were unavailable.
Personalized Weather and Horoscopes
The Weather page is tailored to your location and includes a five-day forecast, 12-hour timeline, and radar forecasts. Along the top of the weather section are daily horoscopes.
You will find short video clips and features peppered throughout The Daily such as this pre-Super Bowl video featuring interviews with former Super Bowl winners Michael Strahan, formerly of the New York Giants and Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Dallas Cowboys.
The Daily uses full-page ads. Some are interactive such as this ad (pictured) for a new animated film, Rango starring Johnny Depp, which features a link to a promotional video.
Not An Island--Content Is Shareable
Even though The Daily is an iOS app based on a subscription model, you will still be able to share content from The Daily on Facebook, Twitter or through e-mail. You can also leave a text or voice comment for other readers of The Daily (registration required). Just click on the arrow icon at the top of any page to access The Daily's sharing options. When you share content outside the app, anyone can follow the story to a Web version of what you were reading. However, visitors to the Web version of The Daily will not get full access to the site, only the story you shared. Check out this story about the protests in Egypt from The Daily.
Is This the First "All-Media" Product?
Jon Miller, News Corp.'s head of Digital Media, said The Daily is the first "all media" product meaning it's a combination of text, photos, videos and the Web in one package. One example of this can be seen in the lead story about the protests in Egypt. You have the option to rotate to landscape view to see a collection of photos from the protests, or switch to portrait view to read the news story.
At the top of each page is an indicator called the visual browser that lets you move to different sections and stories in The Daily without having to go back to the Carousel. Tapping the white button activates a thumbnail menu that lest you see every page in the current issue of The Daily. The visual browser also lets you know how much content you've read through and how much is left in each issue of the newspaper.
Should You Buy The Daily?
Keep in mind that this is a first-version product and so you have to expect problems as an early adopter of anything, including an iPad app. That being said, in my short time putting this app through its paces The Daily constantly crashed on me. This happened whenever I did something as simple as rotate the screen, or call up a new feature. Judging from the comments on Twitter, I wasn't the only one having this problem. I did find that the app crashed less the more I got away from the "front page" content and into deeper sections of the paper. My advice would be to enjoy the next two weeks of The Daily for free and see what your experience is. But if The Daily can't stop this app from crashing, it won't be worth the pixels it's "printed" on.