The Daily

Video tour of News Corp.’s new The Daily iPad app. Nothing groundbreaking, but better than most such efforts to date. The “carousel” feature — more or less Cover Flow view for pages in the current issue — is incredibly laggy. I can’t believe they shipped it like this. Scrolling elsewhere is OK, I guess, but nowhere near as fast as it should be in a native app. I think the rest of the app at first feels faster than it really is because the carousel — which is the default navigation — is so crushingly slow. (And the page thumbnails in the carousel are horrendously JPEG-compressed. I can’t even imagine how slow it would be if the thumbnails actually looked good.)

I like that navigation is a simple left-to-right affair; it provides a sense of place, and a sense of how much content remains. I don’t like how switching the rotation of the iPad sometimes — but usually not — puts you into an entirely different mode, rather than showing the same content in a different context. E.g. for today’s feature news coverage of the tumult in Egypt, landscape orientation shows you a slideshow of photos, but portrait shows you the news article.

Maybe they’ve hired a good staff of writers and editors, but they sure need better designers and engineers. The experience just isn’t good enough.

At a dollar a week, I’m not sure how to predict The Daily’s success. On the one hand, it’s competing with an almost uncountable number of free websites, and large number of free apps. On the other hand, it’s only a buck, and News Corp. can promote it heavily through its existing media outlets — the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, the New York Post, etc.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011