Even with The Daily, the iPad still needs help for news

I've been an active an avid iPad users since launch day. My iPad has become an essential piece of my daily life, and I constantly find new and wonderful uses for it. In fact, I'm typing this post on my iPad in a hotel lounge using the on-screen keyboard.

I'm an avid reader, and I do a great deal of reading on the iPad. I read the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today every day. I subscribe to many magazines, both as native apps and using Zinio. The iPad is a really wonderful reading platform, plus its much easier to travel with than a stack of newspapers, magazines ands books.

Speaking of books, I do all my reading with the Kindle app. I was a Kindle early adopter, but I enjoy the Kindle app more than the standalone device. There are two things the Kindle has done amazingly well at as a newspaper/magazine reader that the IPad didn't match. First, subscriptions to publications on the Kindle are inexpensive, whereas the norm on the iPad is to pay cover price per issue. Second, when you subscribe to a publication the Kindle, Amazon automatically delivers new issues while the device is idle, so you never have to sit and wait for a new issue.

On the iPad, each launch of a newspaper app is met with a loading screen while the app downloads enough content to display a home screen. Even when that loads, there are frequent delays as additional content is loaded. The situation is even worse for magazines, where issues can take 30 minutes or more to download. Who has 30 minutes per issue?

I had two hopes for today's announcement for The Daily: subscription billing and background, push downloads. Subscription billing is here, but manual downloads remain. Even The Daily, which is built from the ground up for iPad has the same "loading" behavior as the traditional newspaper apps.

Obviously content for iPad publications is an order of magnitude larger than Kindle publications. This is exacerbated by publications which are using Adobe's publishing tools. I don't care. As a consumer, the iPad will never be as convenient as mailed magazines or delivered newspapers until new issues are waiting for me when I wake up.

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