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On eve of 'The Daily' launch, rival iPad apps offer previews

Ahead of News Corp's unveiling of The Daily digital newspaper on Wednesday, developers showed off competing iPad apps, including a social news app from The New York Times and a digital book platform from a former Apple designer.

Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation, in partnership with Apple, are set to launch iPad-exclusive publication The Daily Wednesday at 11:00 am EST after overcoming several delays. Rival publishers will most certainly be watching user reception of The Daily, as the digital newspaper is an experimental push for exclusive tablet-designed content.

News Corp's iPad publication could also be the first to implement an iTunes subscription feature that Apple has reportedly been working on. Publishers have pressed Apple for an iPad subscription agreement that would automatically send content to paying customers.

Competitors, however, haven't been idly watching The Daily's development process. The New York Times, in collaboration with Betaworks, is working on, a social news app that will aggregate article links from Twitter streams and link sharing site, TechCrunch reports. The approach is worlds apart from News Corp's, which focuses on producing custom content.

Also making headlines Tuesday was Push Pop Press, a startup from former Apple designer and Delicious Monster founder Michael Matas. The startup, which aims to create a "new breed" of interactive digital books, launched a teaser site Tuesday.

After Delicious Library, the first product from Delicious Monster, drew praise for its user interface, Matas joined Apple as a human interface designer at age 19. According to his LinkedIn profile, Matas stayed at Apple for four years, then worked briefly at Nest Labs, before founding Push Pop Press in February 2010.

Another Apple veteran, Kimon Tsinteris, who served as a senior engineer on the iPhone team, is a partner in the startup, according to an All Things Digital report. The startup is reportedly partnered with New York book publisher Melcher Media.

Publishers have been abuzz as millions of new iPad users have taken to viewing content on the device. USA Today executives said earlier this week that the iPad has become a "real positive" for the newspaper and could soon bring about a "much more significant improvement" in revenue.

The Times sparked a minor controversy Monday when it reported that Apple had "tightened restrictions" on its iOS App Store, blocking Sony from releasing an eBookstore app. Apple denied the claim, asserting that the iPad maker had not made changes to its developer guidelines.

"We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase," said Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller.