We here at hubapps have had iPad on the brain for some time. Allowing an unprecedented combination of mobility and utility in a single device is one revolution, but the iPad’s real innovation lies one step further. Though the iPhone OS was introduced years ago, only now can we see how the touch interface manifests on large surfaces, and the difference is so great it promises to shatter 25 years of hegemony brought on by “the mouse” — a term my kids will – thanks to Apple’s touch interface – never know.
Rather than as an addition of user interface metaphors, the correct way to think about the touch interface is as the removal of antiquated habits and conventions. The subtraction of this layer is a modern, profoundly irrefutable example of the application of one of the classic templates of innovation, not coincidentally called Subtraction (the other 4 are Task Unification, Multiplication, Division, and Attribute Dependency. Read more).
This is significant not because it’s so fun, though touchscreens are certainly that. It’s significant because every movement downwards on a complexity scale shifts a product’s appeal to a broader market, and enables greater applicability of the product in its ecosystem.
Just as Apple took an industry so saturated with arcane incantations one had to be a veritable sorcerer (see emacs or the short version) just to approach a computer and brought it the mouse, with see-it-click-it purity of action, so now are they bringing us again into a new age of purity of intention, of want-it-touch-it. And the corresponding diaspora of the concept we saw with the explosion of PCs will be repeated with tablets, only this time, the iPad will enjoy a lead at least as long as its patents. I think that preserving this lead is at the heart of Apple’s strategic intention, especially regarding Flash and cross-compilers, as John Gruber so concisely put it:
Apple is betting its entire mobile future that their developer platform is better than everyone else’s.
Exactly. The developer platform, and what’s being developed.
At any rate, “Purity of intention” brings me to the topic of this post, which is, ostensibly, Keeper HD: our first app for the iPad. Like its Mac counterpart, Keeper HD lets you easily put your thoughts in storage for quick reference. However, Keeper HD is taking this concept beyond words and into the realm of arbitrary ideas. In this way, Keeper HD continues to work towards empowering users to create entries for whatever kind of idea they intend to document. The unique capabilities of the iPad make this possible for the first time in history.
Before we get too far ahead, let me say that Keeper HD, as of today, supports only text notes, though the 1.1 release (already submitted to Apple) will add to this webpages. But what Keeper HD truly does, on its deepest level, is permit any kind of “canvas” to be displayed and acted upon in the app. Several are under development, and we are about to release a Keeper SDK which will allow for easy development of such canvases. But that will be the subject of the next post…
In the meantime, here’s a quick screenshot of the Keeper HD interface: