I have been reading Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad-only publication The Daily for the past few weeks. When I first heard about it back in late-2010, I was very excited. I envisioned a magazine (or newspaper) that would take the instant nature of blogs, the investigative reporting of newspapers, the lengthy articles of magazines and social interactivity of the internet, and put them all together into one Super Awesome Tablet Thing Web 2.0.
Or something like that.
Instead, I was thoroughly disappointed by the magazine. At first, it seemed that the The Daily had everything I thought that it should. Interactivity, social, up-to-date, blog-esque topics, and, solid reporting. But that was a mere illusion. Instead, it was interactive in the sense that 1999 websites are interactive, social in a very anti-sharing way, as up-to-date as a newspaper, blog-esque topics that would fit in with a blog (but had a length that was too long), and solid reporting. The solid reporting was good, but they presented it in some sort of cutesy way that detracted from the information being presented.
So I didn’t like the content. But then again, I don’t like the content of many publications, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the publication. It just means I don’t like how they write. However, I also didn’t like the app itself.
The application was poorly designed. I still don’t understand the navigation. There is the carousel, which is interesting. At the same time, it is unusable, because it is incredibly slow and pixelated. Then there is the portrait vs. landscape issue. If you turn your iPad, it shows one thing, and if you turn it back, it shows something else. But not in a linear fashion, in an indescribable fashion. Indescribable because it doesn’t make any sense. I would have to show you to explain it, but sadly, I’ve deleted The Daily.
Then there are the random assortment of bugs and crashes. There are far too many to mention. To sum it up, they detracted from the reading experience to the point where I would quit the app and go to Hulu instead.
On top of all of this, I found that The Daily as a publication did very irregular things. No table of contents. Charging for a subscription, but then posting the full stories online. Posting the full stories online, but in a static view of a screenshot. Having a very strange page of horoscopes and a weather forecast in the middle of the magazine. An irregular diatribe on religion in their version of a Dear Abby.
There are other issues I had with it, but those are the main points. The app was frustrating to use, which I would be okay with, but the content wasn’t worth the hassle. Other applications are buggy, but the content makes up for the lack of usability. Hulu is a notable example. They have a buggy app, but when it works, watching TV shows on the iPad is an exceptional experience. The Daily on the other hand was a waste of space on my iPad. Taking the worst of tabloids and combining it with the worst of applications.
Murdoch and Jobs: I expected better.