Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Daily is updated again and this time many of the bugs have been worked out - but app still lacks multitasking

This morning saw the release of version 1.0.4 of The Daily, Rupert Murdoch's iPad-only tablet news product. Unlike previous updates, this one installed without a hitch and it appears to have fixed many of the bugs that users have complained about in previous versions.
So what's new? Not a whole lot that the reader will immediately notice -- but that is because bugs only are seen when an app crashes or freezes up, right?

The first thing I noticed after installing the update and launching the app was that my subscription no longer has an expiration date. Instead I was greeted with a message that said I had a two week free trial. That would mean, barring another update, that my free trial will now end around March 21st.

Let's review the current state of the settings. Under "General Settings" the user can turn on and off breaking news notifications. Another option allows rabid readers to have The Daily launch at start-up -- this might be something that only works once iOS 4.3 in available because I could not make this work at all. Then there is a Horoscope setting and a Location setting.
(Do you believe in horoscopes? Is there a "horoscope" demographic The Daily is aiming at?)

The Account Information area now is probably in its final form as The Daily gets set to start charging for content.

Inside the app the social networking tools are well done, I especially like the way the comments section looks with its semi-transparent appearance. If you are not aware, you can record comments as well as write them in this app -- in fact, many folk are not even aware that the iPad comes with a microphone at all since iPad 1 doesn't have a built-in camera.

Both the audio and video features in The Daily seem like overkill to me as both features are kind of, well, stiff. But an app I have to say that they are very well done.

The one thing The Daily still, for some reason, doesn't have is multitasking. Every time you leave the app the check e-mail or open up another app The Daily needs to launch all over again. The Daily's own website mentions "multitasking", though it used the term to mean something altogether different than what the term means for tablets. With all the bells and whistles to be found in this app you would think it would have this basic feature -- and I'm sure it will soon.

The Daily is a complicated app, if you don't believe me try figuring out how to customize the sports features. OK, maybe it's not that hard, but by not having this stuff under settings the reader has to stumble upon the tools in the help page. You see most 'help pages' are just a few illustrations telling the reader to swipe and scroll. Here there are actually some settings.

When my trial subscription runs out I'll probably have to buy individual issues just to see what new things are to be found in this app, assuming this product survives. As I've said before, there is no way I could subscribe to The Daily -- I drink coffee, not tea.