updated 11:55 pm EST, Sat November 20, 2010
News Corp iPad title may have Apple help
News Corp's tablet news project may have been jointly developed with Apple, a report this evening claimed. Using a combination of American media and its own sources, the UK's Guardian asserted that Apple engineers were helping a team of News Corp luminaries develop the project, now referred to as The Daily. Apple chief Steve Jobs and his News Corp parallel Rupert Murdoch would purportedly be confident enough as to unveil the project together, likely sometime in the next week.
A few firmer details of how the title would work have also emerged. As content, it would have "a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence," aiming to straddle the line between the lightweight Sun series of newspapers and more substantial papers like the Wall Street Journal. Issues would download automatically, at least on some platforms, and might play into rumors of background downloading in a future iPad newsstand app. Hiring tendencies have leaned towards video as a significant component.
The American fashion newspaper Women's Wear Daily is rumored to have gleaned details of the staffing. As many as 100 journalists will have been hired, including former New Yorker music editor Sasha Frere-Jones, the Sun's Pete Picton and possibly staff from the New York Post such as managing editor Jesse Angelo and LA rumor columnist Richard Johnson.
Murdoch has been a fervent advocate of the iPad as a way of getting readers to pay for news once again after years of free web access. After reading a survey which showed users more interested in their iPads than in general Internet browsing, the executive became convinced that tablets like Apple's would be ubiquitous enough that the Daily could have a large enough circulation, according to a Guardian contact.
""He envisions a world in which every family has a iPad in the home and it becomes the device from which they get their news and information," the tipster said. "If only five percent of those [estimated] 40 million [iPads in 2011] subscribe to the Daily, that's already two million customers."
Apple has never publicly confirmed any plans to formally endorse a news outlet or create a newsstand app for the iPad, but Jobs has shown a direct interest in courting established print media and made a round of visits to periodical publishers like Time Inc. earlier this year. The current New York Times app is rumored to have come partly after Jobs was unhappy with the initial app, an Editor's Choice title that only contained a fraction of the actual newspaper. He has also been an advocate of magazine- and newspaper-influenced social media apps such as Flipboard and Pulse, both of which have been featured in Apple's marketing and highlighted on the App Store.
The Daily if confirmed might only launch early in 2011 but would cost as little as 99 cents per week, counting on the digital-only business to lower the price and attract those who would pass over the WSJ and other newspapers whose tablet editions can cost four times as much.