1. Restricting your potential customer base to people who own a particular, proprietary device that is practically restricted to the affluent might not, perhaps, be the best idea, in an industry that depends on scale. Digital media, whether ad-based or subscription, is based on many transactions of very low cost. Luckily for companies in the digital world, it costs you essentially nothing to dramatically upscale the number of those transactions. Why on earth would you lock your content down to a particular, ludicrously expensive device?
2. Why would people think that you could have a viable media business model while catering only to people who own iPads? Because our media world is made up of people from a particular social and cultural class. Broadly speaking, they're a myopic and provincial bunch, and so when they look around at their peers and social cohort, they see that everybody owns an iPad and assume that's true of the world at large. You're sure to see tons of analysis of this story in the usual places in the coming hours-- The Atlantic, Slate-- and it'll be written by people from the same narrow group that worked at The Daily in the first place. As such, they'll be lacking an important perspective, which is what the world looks like outside of the narrow slice of educated digitally-connected strivers who write the Internet. It's the most consistent and determinative aspect of our media: it's a homogenous group that fancies itself diverse and thus cannot see how incredibly out of touch it is with how most people live. I invite reporters to come here to Lafayette Indiana and ask around at the Village Pantry about the demise of The Daily.
3. I've said it before: the amount of people who are employed in digital media seems completely unsustainable, to my amateur eyes. So many people are willing to do it for free, and we've inculcated an expectation that paywalls and subscriptions are inherently stupid, and meanwhile online ad pricing is driven down by the immense supply of places looking for advertisers. I think the whole industry is kept afloat by investment money, and sooner or later, the check is coming due. Good was a sign, and The Daily is a sign, and I think a lot of people who live very comfortable and secure lives are going to get less comfortable and less secure in a hurry.