iPad app of my dreams: the digital talking pad

7 Feb

Here's the spec. If you build it and it's great, I'll use it and I'll blog it.

A while ago, I posted about the talking pad and a modern version of it.

I think there's a killer app version of this for the iPad, and I hope someone will build it. The talking pad is an interactive presentation tool for smart people.

Overview

It's a very simple concept: a collection of pages (slides, images, type, let's call them pages) that are easy to navigate in a non-linear way. Along with the standard zoom features, I'd like to be able to write on any of them in real time using my finger. I can also call up, on demand, a calculator or a blank drawing pad.

Creation

I can create the talking pad files on my Mac or on the iPad using a builder app, and sync both ways. The builder is really simple, just the ability to organize pages I create in other apps, with simple navigation, scale and type tools.

Navigation

Instead of it being linear (like Powerpoint or Keynote), the pages are arranged in a grid or checkerboard. From any page, then, I can go back, forward, up or down, and the four diagonals as well. So depending on the conversation I'm having with my audience, my 'next' page can be any of 8.

In addition, the app supports an external monitor. When I'm hooked up to the projector or screen, I see twenty or thirty of my pages in thumbnails on my ipad screen, and I can click any of them to instantly bring that page up on the projector.

In essence, I want to be able to play a presentation the same way some people play jazz piano.

As a prompt, each corner and side of the page can have little keyword reminders, so I can easily remember, for example, that pressing the bottom left corner of the page about dogs will display the page about tigers.

So now, someone asks a question and I can just jump to the slide that answers that question. If I want to circle something or zoom in, I just put my finger on the screen and do that.

Bonuses:

1. the ability to have one of the pages be a web browser with address already loaded, so if I want, without leaving the talking pad app, I can jump to this.

2. the ability to embed links within the pages, so I can actually have a page that points to other pages (this is currently built into keynote and powerpoint, but people don't use it because those programs are so linear). In essence, a page becomes a piano keyboard with each key pointing to another page.

Reporting

The app can keep track of which pages I used the most, and for how long. This is useful in a corporate setting. Imagine that the sales manager dreams up a talking pad file and offers it to 100 salespeople. Every day, when they re-sync, we can see how often the pad was used and which slides got used the most often.

The Killer App

A killer app is a program that all by itself is good enough to justify the price of the hardware. The killer app for the PC was Excel. The killer app for the iPod was iTunes. This is reason enough to pay $500, I think.

PS I've received so much interest in this I've started a wiki on this topic so you can find fellow travelers.

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