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iPad newspaper arrives Wednesday. Can it survive?

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Kafka says The Daily is “almost defiantly anti-Web,” given its standalone nature, its lack of aggregation, and its barebones Web site, which will be free but will feature only a “grudging sample” of about 10 of the day’s stories. The actual iPad version of The Daily is apparently very newspaper-like, though, with six sections and an early morning, once-daily publication schedule (though there apparently will be some minimal midday updating). It will cost 99 cents per week, although the first two weeks after Wedneday’s launch will be free as a promotion.

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Some of The Daily’s stories, according to people who have seen the app, look like any other newspaper story, but others – some of them with no text at all – are graphics-heavy and sport interactive capabilities like a zoom function. Reportedly, the app will feature 3D video, but that’s apparently coming sometime down the line.

Much is made of The Daily’s walled-off nature. Some critics have said this will be its downfall. And it could be. But it’s also the case that people who work online (like media pundits and journalists) tend to think of everyone else as reading news online all day, too. It could be that there is a large audience for a single daily online publication.

If so, it has to be high quality, argues news industry analyst Ken Doctor. “Our time is lots more valuable than 99 cents a week,” he writes, “and reading The Daily means adding a new daily habit, replacing some other news reading, we’d think, or some other activity to be sure. To displace other habits, newsy and otherwise, it must compel our attention.”

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