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Cool iPhone Beta Application--Pocket Planet Glazer.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 28, 2008

Check out this video of an iPhone apps about the solar system that David Armano at Critical Mass put together. (If you have an iPhone or Safari, click here). I played with The Pocket Planet Gazer over lunch recently. It’s the kind of simple, playful and informative engagement over the iPhone that companies would want to brand around. It’s the new kind of marketing, that offers something to the consumer and connects with the consumer in a joint project.

I think this application illustrates the potential power of the iPhone platform—and other similar platforms—to show information in an entertaining and engaging way. I kept hitting those planets on the screen and learning more about them as data popped up. Imagine what a kid would do with this?

Reader Comments

David Armano

March 28, 2008 4:49 PM


Glad you think it's neat. The story behind it is really interesting as our team out of Toronto proactively prototyped the idea using rapid design techniques. It's not perfect but as something that started as an experiment—it definitely underscores the potential of Web applications on the iPhone.

My kid loves to play with it—and come to think of it, so did you when I first showed it to you! :-)


March 28, 2008 6:35 PM

Great idea, but why lose the effortlessness that the native iPhone apps have? For example, why not zoom in/out the same way you would on web sites or photos? Why not drag across an infinite surface for going thru photos? Seems to me the execution of the interface here is a perfect example of how many of the third party apps for the iPhone will also live or die by their ability to maximize content and minimize interface artifacts from the old way of doing things. In other words, part of the charm of the iPhone right now is the awesome apps that Apple makes. Third party developers should try harder to match or even one-up Apple's developers in this new paradigm.

Jaded Designer

March 31, 2008 10:32 PM

What am I missing something here? I think I had a CD-ROM in high school that did the same thing 16 years ago.

I don't get how delivering your app on an iPhone makes it innovative?

Scott Weisbrod

April 12, 2008 8:51 PM

@Jaded Designer: I don't think anyone is saying anything innovative was achieved here, merely that an interesting, entertaining and informative app was created for a new platform. Baby steps, that's all were talking about.

@Trev: The NASA app is a WebApp, which is different from native apps. WebApps aren't as rich in their interactions as the native apps are. When we built it, the software development kit (SKD) hadn't been released. The SDK allows designers to create native apps.

@Armano: Think we'll see a Planet Glazer 2.0 built using the SDK? :)

David Pincott

March 20, 2009 2:13 PM

This is a superb application that is simple to use and is portable. I despair of the IT world sometimes when people who are interested in IT for IT's sake criticise something that's so useful to the rest of the world. CR ROM 16 years ago? What about the half hundredweight of PC that went with it?!

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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