Freeform, our latest application, finally hit the iPad App Store today! Although we tried to get the application ready for the App Store launch, and we did submit it on time, there were some issues the reviewers found when testing on an actual iPad that we couldn’t reproduce on the simulator. Just like everybody else, we couldn’t get an iPad until last Saturday so we couldn’t really fix the bugs until then. A couple of revisions later the application has been accepted and can now be purchased from the app store. The introductory price is just $4.99.
So, you may be wondering, what is Freeform? Freeform is a vector drawing application – a simple, somewhat limited, experimental first release. Think of it as Adobe Illustrator extra-lite. After using Freeform on an iPad I’m inclined to disagree with what I’ve heard from some – that the iPad will not be useful for content creation. There’s something that just feels great about drawing and manipulating shapes and curves with your fingers instead of a mouse.
Why experimental? There are a couple of reasons I’m labeling it that way. First, without having an iPad to develop on I wasn’t sure how the idea would pan out, or if the experience of creating vector graphics on an iPad would be something I’d want to spend time on. I now think that it is a worthwhile project and am very excited to move forward with it. Another “experimental” factor is the business model behind the application. The iPhone app store has turned into mainly a hit-based model, so if your application is a hit, you make money at the beginning, which usually tapers off quickly as time goes on. I’m developing Freeform with more of a traditional desktop application model in mind. This means that the price will be more than 99¢ cents, and it will be higher than the current price of $4.99 in a couple of versions. It doesn’t have as wide of an audience as some 99¢ games, and hopefully the people who end up using it will agree it’s worth more than five bucks.
While the current feature set is limited, I have a long to-do list with some features that I think will make the app significantly more functional, and useable for “real work”. If you are a designer, or anyone who has the need to create graphics, I’d be very interesting in hearing about what features the current version of Freeform is lacking that would enable you to actually be productive. Hopefully even the current version is fun enough to use that it’s worth the price!