MEDIA
02/02/2011 03:00 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

'The Daily' Launches For — And Only For — The iPad

When Rupert Murdoch emerged from behind the curtain this morning in the Guggenheim's basement, he touted his iPad in a most uncomfortable position.

Not brandished above his head, as we imagine Moses delivering his tablet, but tucked oddly between forearm and torso, like an illicit magazine flashed from the pocket. With a triumphant, "Heh!" he set down the tablet — The Daily's logo blazoned on its screen.

Having shepherded it to safety, Murdoch now announced The Daily: a news application, national in scope, developed specifically for Apple's iPad.

The advent of the tablet, Murdoch went on, demands "a news service edited and designed specifically" for the new era, which has made possible "innovations that are unthinkable in either print or television," he said.

But what was missing from the presentation that followed — from Murdoch, as well as editor Jesse Angelo and publisher Greg Clayman, who joined him on stage — was that other platform whose possibilities transcended, and then defeated, old media: namely, the web.

It was almost as if Murdoch and team were willfully ignoring the Internet (a platform where News Corp. has struggled with paywalls and other pitfalls), and eliding the golden age of broadcast television and print with the supposed coming of the age of the iPad.

Most revealing is The Daily's website, which is not a news site at all, but a placeholder, an advertisement even, for the app.

When asked about the "discoverablity" of The Daily's content online, Apple's vice president Eddy Cue said, "I think people are finding apps without a problem."

Added Clayman: "One of the decisions that we made that we feel really good about is we focused on this medium, this device, and this audience that's growing everyday.

"We didn't want to make compromises, and the web requires you to make certain compromises," Clayman added."

And indeed, looking at The Daily in a browser — here's an article — the organizational or navigational structure one finds on other news sites is here absent. The Daily is not only unwilling to compromise, it's also simply unavailable online.

That might have been sufficient in the days of the newsmagazine, when value was created and retained between the covers. But on the social web, the currency of a successful site is the portability of its content. The Daily's is just the opposite, moored to a single and static platform, with only the smallest concession to social sharing.

And while Angelo maintains that shared content will be viewable on the web, "You can't go to The Daily dot com and get all the pages."

"Does that answer the question?" he asked.