Our First iPad App
It’s been a crazy couple of months over at Tapbots. Between potential lawsuits, Tweetie getting acquired by Twitter, and Apple releasing iOS 4 (and the iPhone 4!), we’ve been working on a little bit of everything. But being busy is a good thing. All of our apps are now iOS 4-ready and optimized for the retina display. And what our customers seem to want the most is our upcoming Twitter app. Yes, it’s coming…but not today.
Today is all about a tiny project we’ve been working on for the iPad (and iPhone).
Yes, we went and created a calculator app. What’s the point? Calculators are always useful and Apple never shipped one on the iPad. There are other calculator apps on the App Store, but we weren’t happy with any of them. None of them brought anything new to the genre. Calculators haven’t changed in decades. We really wanted to make a better calculator and solve issues that plague them. I have two common issues with the average calculator:
- There’s no way to see my calculation expression so if I’m even slightly distracted, I lose my place. I almost always repeat calculations twice to verify the result.
- I’m bad at remembering numbers and I have no idea how those memory buttons work.
We think we were able to solve these two issues by creating the live expression view and history tape. The live expression view is not entirely new. It’s been done in expensive graphing calculators for years. But I have no idea why no one (as far as I know) does it for standard calculators. But we did improve on the concept by always providing a live preview of your final calculated value as you type. Use calcbot for a few days and you won’t be able to use a calculator without a live expression view again.
The history tape is also not a new concept. But we wanted it to be easy to understand and usable in every day calculations. It basically replaces the memory keys found in most calculators because you can recall any number (or expression for that matter) in your history. You can even append history values to a new calculation.
We finished Calcbot for iPad in little over a month. We didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it as we know people were waiting for some other Tapbot app and we also wanted to keep it simple. We submitted it to Apple and about a week later, it was approved and ready for sale…or was it?
tap tap tap-bots?
Around the time the app was approved, we shared our new app with tap tap tap. They make great iPhone apps and we occasionally share and bounce thoughts off of each other. Tap tap tap doesn’t only make great apps, they are the marketing geniuses behind Macheist and many highly successful iPhone apps. We make great apps (or so we’re told), but don’t quite have the knack for marketing. The guys at tap tap tap really liked Calcbot and wanted to help us make sure it succeeded. And I have to say, partnering with them on this app is a big win for our customers.
They pushed us to develop an iPhone version and make it universal. At first it may not make sense to buy a calculator for the iPhone since Apple already ships with one. But once you experience the expression view and history tape (and of course the Tapbots’ style), you really can’t go without it. The default calculator starts to feel archaic and bland. Another feature they pushed us to do is provide all the scientific functions that exist on the default calculator. They were kind enough to let us borrow their SwipePad concept for switching between different keypads. This was an original tap tap tap idea planned for one of their apps. And finally, with their ability to reach a much larger audience, we are able to sell this universal app (with very unique experiences on each platform, I might add) starting at only 99 cents. Partnering with tap tap tap on Calcbot has made it even better than it would have been and we are really excited to hear what you think about it!
We’d also like to thank Vincent Knobil, Yuzuru Shiraiwa, Filippo Spiezia, Martín Marconcini, Tobias Brummer for their great work in getting Calcbot localized.
But wait, there’s more!
In typical Macheist fashion, they are providing a great mac app that you can have for free, just by sharing the release of Calcbot on Facebook. That app is Socialite from Realmac Software. Socialite allows you to interact with Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Digg, and RSS feeds all from one beautiful app.
Just visit macheist.com/calcbot to learn more about the promotion.
Read tap tap tap’s post about our partnership on Calcbot.