Anyone expecting further revelations from Apple following yesterday's in-app content policies and/or a new subscription service for digital publications during today's launch of The Daily will be a bit disappointed. While the launch did go off as planned this morning, Apple's role was somewhat minimal and focused solely promoting The Daily itself rather than any new services or other changes to iTunes or App Store services.
The Daily is the latest venture of Rupert Murdoch's' News Corp. and is the first daily newspaper designed to be delivered solely to tablet device devices. Initially that means that iPad, though Murdoch indicated other versions of the paper will eventually become available. For now, the iPad is the platform of choice because "...last year, this year, and next year belong to Apple."
As was widely reported, the paper will be available as a free app in Apple's App Store. Subscribers will have a new edition (up to 100 pages in length) delivered each day and will be able to save individual stories for later reading (though the app, at least in its initial release, will not save back issues). Users will also be able to share stories via Twitter and Facebook that non-subscribers can view on the web, though the entire content will not be readily available on the web.
The Daily offers a range of content that mirrors what can be found in other national newspapers, but it also takes advantage of the tablet format. The app include video and 360 degree photo features and various view options. It also support some user customization of news services and how they are presented such as allowing a user to specify favorite teams in the sports section and providing localized weather information.
The Daily will be free for the first two weeks, courtesy of Verizon, and will cost $.99 per week (billed to a user's iTunes account) or $39.99 per year. Apple has updated iTunes to support the subscription model (and an updated App Store terms of service agreement now include references to in-app subscription services).
As I noted few details emerged about that subscription service, though Apple's Vice President of Internet Services, Eddy Cue, did imply that the subscription service will be expanded beyond this first publication with announcement to follow at some later date. That makes sense, given Apple's recent moves to prevent publications with iPhone/iPad apps from managing subscription services outside of the App Store and its in-app purchase mechanism (sales from which Apple takes a 30% cut).
How this subscription service or Apple's new focus on controlling all in-app content and the purchase of that content will eventually play out, however, remains somewhat of a mystery.