I downloaded the first edition of The Daily, the first magazine/newspaper developed for specifically for the iPad (though it will come to other tablets eventually) yesterday. I'm impressed and will be a subscriber. Also, I'll watch the success -- or lack of it-- of The Daily carefully, as I think this could be the publication that truly launches the digital magazine age.
The Daily scores high marks for its features and pricing. The newspaper features traditional text-based stories, video and interactive content. One of its coolest features is 360-degree photos, which span around in an arc. Articles can be shared on services like Facebook or Twitter, or sent via e-mail. You can also record text or audio comments for a story.
There are other interactive elements. In a review of the Oregon Trail game in the Arts & Life section, you can click on an icon that offers tips for winning at the game. Even some of the ads are interactive. The LandRover ad has an embedded video; click the play button and you see a short clip on the building of the LR2.
The Daily is published each morning, but will be updated during the day. That's another great feature that print publications can't offer.
Download The Daily and you'll be greeted with updated iTunes Store terms and conditions for the new in-app subscription feature. After a free two-week period, subscriptions to The Daily will be available at $0.99 per week or $39.99 per year. That's 14 cents a day, a more-than-reasonable price.
The Daily is also important for another reason. Until now, there's been no way for publishers (and developers, for that matter) to charge subscription fees in iOS apps. Now Apple offers “Paid Subscriptions," in which publications can charge subscription fees for their content over a certain period, such as a week or month.
You can set the charges up to auto-renew, with your iTunes account automatically billed. However, your auto-renewal will be disabled if a publication raises its subscription price. That's a good move, as you don't end up paying more without knowing it. And I'm pretty sure if the price of a subscription rises, you'll be notified -- and encouraged to re-subscribe at the new price. Note that if you choose to begin paying for a subscription during a free trial, billing will begin immediately, not at the end of the trial period.
For now, the subscription feature is only available for The Daily. But Apple is planning to offer the service for other content providers and app developers.
Keep watching and reading. This could -- and should -- be big.
-- Dennis Sellers