Stephen Foley: A little bit of this, a little bit of that... and a disco for dogs

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The Independent Online

There is a stunning photograph of Venice in the first edition of The Daily, which amply demonstrates what you can do on a touchscreen tablet such as the iPad and would never be able to do in a print newspaper – or on the boring old internet, for that matter. It is a "360-degree photograph", in which you can move around and see the view from all angles.

Rather unfortunately – since it is one of the few innovative things in The Daily – it crashed the app, when publisher Greg Clayman was demonstrating it yesterday. The Daily's tendency to shut down unexpectedly when trying to load big content such as video, is its most notable feature.

Mr Murdoch was coy about who The Daily is aimed at – "Everybody" was his instruction to Mr Clayman – but it seems to be pitched at a mid-market the mogul has never before inhabited – more Express, than Sun or Times. Building a loyal readership looks a steep ask, particularly on the evidence of Issue 1, where no bold, unique editorial voice is immediately apparent.

Even the fun stuff, such as a piece on a New York disco for dogs, barely stands out from the great amount of "fancy that" fare available to iPad owners for free at the click of a Safari web browser button.

Here's the problem. The Daily's premise is that newspapers' decline is a delivery problem, that people are out of the habit of nipping to the newsagent and unwilling to pay the built-in costs of trucking papers round the country, but will happily pay a few cents for something that pops up on their iPad.

But what if the problem is more fundamental and there is just no need for digital products like The Daily that offer a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, in a world where specialist news, or sport or puzzle sites exist – and offer their wares for free?