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Apple and News Corp to launch The Daily for iPads on Feb. 2nd

Apple and News Corp jointly issued invitations to select members of the media on Thursday, courting them a special event next Wednesday to celebrate the launch of the The Daily, a digital newspaper designed specifically for the iPad.

"News Corporation's Chairman & CEO Rupert Murdoch invites you to the launch of: The Daily," reads the invite, one of which was sent to the Loop's Jim Dalrymple. Murdoch will be joined on stage by Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet services, which umbrellas all things iTunes.

The event is scheduled to kick-off at 11:00 am EST, Wednesday, February 2nd at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum at 1071 Fifth Avenue.

The Daily, which is to be News Corp's experimental push into digital-only publications, was originally scheduled for a Jan. 19 launch, but was postponed at the last minute. Reports suggested that the delays were due to a new subscription feature for iTunes that Apple has been working on.

For his part, Murdoch has publicly confirmed that The Daily will cost $0.99 per week when it launches next month. It's to be the latest addition to News Corp's collection of paid content publications, which last year saw The Times of London and News of the World fall behind paywalls.

At the same time, much of the hype around The Daily is tied to rumors that the publication will usher in a new App Store pay structure for traditional print publications looking to take their content digital: subscriptions. The new format is also expected to be accompanied by technology that will deliver new magazine and newspaper editions to subscribers' iPads automatically.

Thus far, publications experimenting with digital print offerings for the iPad have been forced to make due with Apple's existing pay-per issue approach, which has frustrated their efforts to fully capitalize on the booming tablet market that some industry watchers expect to explode into a 50 million unit business this year.

Consumers have shown a reluctance to pay newsstand premiums for digital copies of magazines on the App Store, such as the $4.99 per-issue charged for the weekly publication The New Yorker. That translates to more than $250 a year to read the magazine on the iPad, well above print subscription rates for a digital product with only a fraction of the overhead to produce.

In addition, in the case of most magazines currently on the App Store, consumers must manually fetch each new issue and purchase it individually rather than have it delivered to their iPads automatically. That similarly doesn't bode well for magazine publishers, who generate the bulk of their revenues off yearly subscriptions rather than impulse buys.

Following the launch of The Daily next month, it's believed that Apple will extend the rumored subscription format to other interested publishers. However, it's believed that the iPad maker has yet to finalize such deals with any other publishing houses outside News Corp.