Entries in Digital (4)
His Cyber Girl iPad painting (video below) was one of the earlier art pieces we covered that used the Brushes recording mode to show how the painting was created.
This is what Starr says about using the iPad as a creative tool:
"The iPad, Magical, Yes! After work its hard to get motivated to do anything creative. The iPad helps this by being so lightweight, and instantly turns on with tons of creative apps for Painting, Drawing, Sculpting, and Music!"
You can download a copy of the free PDF for yourself and view it in iBooks (other PDF readers are available) from the website.
There is some (mostly 3D modelled) nudity so maybe not one for the kids.
The History of Jazz app is a sumptuous, beautiful and thoroughly engrossing experience that has fired up our innate interest in this rich and sometimes enigmatic musical art form. We tell you why we liked it and what makes it one of the best iPad interactive books we have seen so far.
The History of Jazz developed by 955 Dreams (a three person team made up of two coders and a UI designer) really ups the ante on the iPad 'coffee book' front, but it is so much more than that.
History of Jazz does feel like a quality, heavyweight coffee book in that it has gorgeous visuals and an extraordinary amount of depth to it's content. When you are turning the pages of a book though it is easy to lose the thread and this app has a clever navigation aid to help you here.
Along the bottom of the screen is a piano-keys inspired 'dancing' timeline which enables you to jump around between different Genres and time periods within Jazz's History.
Particular care has been taken with this UI to create a lively and colourful interface that just begs you to interact with it impelling you to explore, and this we did. We found it easy to lose several hours digging deeper in to the multi-layered interface, watching videos we had never seen before about people we had only vague knowledge of and we loved it.
There are some great videos in this app, some real rarities, but this brings us on to an interesting point. All of the videos and most of the text used in this app are sourced from YouTube and Wikipedia respectively. So you could ask "Why am I being charged $9.99 for information I could find myself?".
Well, yes you could probably find a lot of this content yourself but really, would you want to? And how long is that going to take you? We would much rather view this content in a wonderfully curated interactive 'book', with the context of Genre and History integrated carefully and set out for us all in one place.
Unlike a printed book though, revisions and updates will not cost you the total purchase price again, the Developers are keen to add new content in the future. This is one of the key advantages of digital content publishing.
Each musician's profile has a link to more videos, 'Essential Songs' and 'Essential Albums'. Clicking one of these two links pops up a window inside the app with iTunes audio previews for each of the available tracks. From here you can click on the Purchase link and you are taken into the iTunes store, which is useful.
But what we really wanted from this app (and it is something that we are teased about in the app instructions) is the one thing that is missing. We would dearly love to be able to play artist tracks in the background whilst exploring and browsing the app.
There are obvious Copyright issues with this request and it is possibly why this feature is missing, but it would be just perfect to have this functionality and it would enhance the experience so much more.
We would also love to have this background music feature available whilst playing the Slideshow that is built in to the app, which is a very nice feature for when your iPad is idle. We hope the Developers can sort something out so that this feature can be added.
The Price of Development
The History of Jazz is admittedly one of the more pricey iPad apps but how much would that still image, not-at-all-interactive and importantly (given the subject) silent paper book cost you? Probably upwards of three times as much for a hardcover full colour edition.
This app really plays to the iPad's interactive strengths by using audio, video and the touch interface to involve you and aid your exploration so that there is more to discover each time you visit the app.
The level of research coupled with the development of the look and feel of the app is also a major factor in the added value that the book brings. Robert Scoble did an interview with the development team and there are some interesting insights in his half hour-ish video, if you would like to know more about the creative and technical processes behind this app you should definitely watch it.
Although it may be near the top tier for this kind of niche, interactive book app, we think it is a fair price, especially when compared to the cost of a printed book of this stature.
As we said at the outset, this app has really captured our interest and we find ourselves dipping back into the History of Jazz while we are sat with iPad in hand, looking to relax and chill out of an evening. It is the best feeling, interactive book app we have yet seen on our iPads and for its educational value and immersive experience we can highly recommend it, even if you have just a passing interest in the Jazz medium.
History of Jazz is available now, currently at version 1.0.4, for $9.99 (£5.99) in the app store. A demo of most of the screens and features can be seen in the video below.
As always, if you have any comments about the History of Jazz, let us know in the comments.
The problem with paper pop-up books in our experience is that they can easily be damaged by over-eager little hands and, whilst that may also be true of the iPad, we think that the future is in digital books, if not in small part for their durability. The latest iPad interactive digital book to catch our eye is PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Loudcrow Interactive.
This is a 50 page digital book that uses the original books' beautiful illustrations and has some really nice features that we feel will definitely appeal to children (and the young at heart). These include pull-tabs, spin wheels and 'spring-mounted elements' plus a classical piano score which is complemented by realistic ambient sounds.
This is apparently the first in a series of the 'PopOut!' digital books from Loudcrow Interactive so we can expect more of the same quality apps in the future.
The best way to understand the interactive features of this app are to watch the video.
PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit is available on the US app store for $4.99 (not available in the UK store at the time of posting).
- Touch and drag objects to make them “spring” to life or tilt to watch them slide and move
- Objects that literally PopOut!™ of the page to delight you and your family
- Beautiful vocal performance, music, and sound effects will immerse you in the story
- "Read to Me" with word highlighting to help improve reading skills
- Or read it yourself and hear individual words spoken with the tap of a finger
- Over 50 pages of authentic text and illustrations with realistic page turning interactions just like the original hardcover book
The problem with pop-up books, especially if children are involved, is that they can easily get damaged or even parts ripped out, so they do not last long. Well, help is on its way for today's e-Parents with a new app that is about to be submitted to Apple.
Ideal Binary have developed Grimm's Rumpelstiltskin an electronic book app for the iPad (there is also an iPhone version separately). Described as "the world’s first fully 3D interactive pop-up book" the app looks impressive from the video preview.
Book publishing on the iPad, especially Children's books, is a very exciting and fast developing sphere of activity and we can't wait to get our hands on this app to try it out. Hopefully we can in a couple of weeks.