Behind one of the best designed iPad apps: History of Jazz

One of my favorite new iPad apps is the “History of Jazz” app. It’s a bit expensive, at $10, and not everyone will care about the app, but it is one of the examples of where I hope the book industry goes. It’s one of the more popular apps, and has a very high rating on the iTunes store right now.

So, I went and met the team, 955 Dreams, who built it, and had a conversation about what it took to build it. I love this company and their process behind developing apps. Great conversation and you’ll get a good demo of the app during the conversation, too.

Comments

  1. Great app – bought after seeing this video – It’s a pity they don’t really highlight their video of the app on their website – (And we know it can help – http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/split-testing-blog/video-conversion-rate/).
    Part of the publishing industries problem is that it has to let a chunk of it’s company let go, and try new stuff, do things differently, to succeed. You can’t just charge $$ on a pdf/app full of just png images without searchable text.
    Would again say – a great conversation – seems they’re a great bunch of people, and where/how you interviewed helped – it was less informal.

  2. on another note. For them as developers. Have they developed a platform which can largely generate layouts like the way the new Apple photo albums do, and maybe something like the way the desktop Zune player can generate the full screen background in a very random (but eye pleasing) way?

    I’m just thinking. If they could develop a platform like that, where the material sort of arranges itself as they collect it and later they do the necessary tweaks such as colour themes and general arrangement here and there,

    a) it would be way easier to push the stuff out faster.

    b) they could create a service, where people make their own material for free using a “lite” version of the platform and then it gets sold across the itunes store under another account (also owned by dream 955) where the second account sort of acts like a sister account for “lite” material and the cash gets split between both parties.

  3. So there are swiping motions to categories, fades, dynamically sized navigation bars that hide and slide, and various levels of opacity, I find it hard to believe this app couldn’t be coded using HTML5. Of course, by that I mean HTML, CSS3, and Javascript. That, and the seeming lack of desire to make it for another tablet comes across as a case of thinking of IPAD AS THE NEW FLASH http://www.zeldman.com/2010/10/17/ipad-as-the-new-flash/

    1. Well, they could write this as HTML5. Of course, the tag would be a problem, wouldn’t it? : )

      There’s nothing about the iPad that demands one form of code. You have the app speed with the developer’s kit, but if you’re a canny programmer, you could write this in HTML. They didn’t, because it’s easier and faster.

  4. And what happens when the YouTube video they don’t own or license disappears from the Web?

    I’m confident that no royalties are being paid. Their making of the app is supposed to be altruistic. :-(