• The Daily

    So, it's here. The news app so highly anticipated it demanded its very own launch event and the involvement of several Apple executives has arrived. Does The Daily and its content live up to the hype? Let's find out…

    First things first: those looking for a truly beautiful reading experience should look elsewhere. The Daily looks good, but I very much doubt Apple's UI team had anything to do with this (rather, Apple's involvement in this app seems to be limited to setting up subscriptions in the App Store). It bears a resemblance to Wired in the display of text and images, though Wired and other Condé Nast apps using Adobe's software offer a smoother scroll than News Corp's effort.

    More importantly, how does The Daily rate in terms of content? Considering News Corp's ownership of the almighty but controversial FOX News and a sea of tabloid newspapers, I had my doubts about the quality of news and opinion expressed in The Daily. Having spent almost two weeks reading this newspaper every day, the journalism here far surpasses many of Rupert Murdoch's other ventures. While it certainly doesn't match the depth of The Wall Street Journal and few articles stretch above the 1,000 word mark, The Daily isn't an iPad version of The Daily Telegraph or The Sun. The first couple of articles in each edition demonstrate at least some level of research. I followed the Egyptian protests almost exclusively with The Daily and I'm happy with the level of coverage (presented mostly without opinion).

    The Daily is a media heavy app, and the ability to display 360º panoramas and video reports is the best reason to start reading. Two or three minute videos accompany most feature articles every day and their images are often breathtaking. This is why I think Apple chose to partner with News Corp: they have such an enormous number of correspondents and crews around the world that they really can create up-to-date video and information about current affairs for their readers.

    Having said that, The Daily is definitely a US-centric publication. Major events like the Mubarak overthrow are reported on, but the focus is on national affairs. You'll still want to be reading Fairfax, the ABC or your news-outlet-of-choice to get a sound knowledge of Australian news and views (at least until a local version of The Daily is launched). Even advertisements are for American products and services – I don't mind seeing ads for Verizon, Virgin Atlantic and the likes because their ads are generally much better than ours, but I would expect to see Australian advertising in The Daily very soon.

    Unfortunately, The Daily is not without much larger drawbacks: most notably, the bugginess of this app is mind blowing (and furthers my ‘Apple had nothing to do with this’ argument). You just can't get through a single issue without the app unexpectedly quitting. You really can't. Every morning I have to shut down my iPad just so a new issue downloads without crashing, and even that can be a long shot sometimes. There's an unbelievable amount of instability in this app which is disappointing but not surprising to see from such a large scale powerhouse.

    Should the lack of Australian content keep you from investing in The Daily? No, because it's not designed for Australian users and there are much better places to get that type of news from anyway. The constant crashing almost put me off though, and the 1.0.1 release (labelled with a “DELETE THE CURRENT VERSION” warning which is a bad idea on so many levels) doesn't help much with the issue. I'm willing to give this a second chance because the idea of having a central and fairly well designed app to get most of my news and keep in touch with the States is nice. I sure hope there's a big bug-smashing update out soon though.

    Version reviewed: 1.0.1
    Price: Free (with in-app subscriptions: weekly $1.19 and yearly $47.99)
    Developer: The Daily Holdings
    App Store
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