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On March 6, 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone Software Roadmap. Basically it talks about how easy it's going to be for developers to put their applications on the iPhone and iTouch. If you want to see the presentation just go to Apple.com.

 

So why am I mentioning this here? I'm thinking about Storyist for the iPhone. Crazy? Maybe. Surely nobody is going to want to do a lot of typing on such a little device. But: I've typed on the iPhone and, surprisingly, it's not uncomfortable; also, a little bit of (advanced) software to convert voice to text could solve the typing problem altogether.

 

How many times have you been in bed sleeping or on the road (or sleeping on the road) and suddenly had that perfect solution for a story problem. Why, you'd just whip out your laptop, right? But which are you more likely to have at hand; a laptop or an iPhone?

 

Every so often you could sideload (i.e., transfer files between connected devices) your Storyist file from your iPhone 2.0 to your Mac. An automated function could keep the devices in synch.

 

Too far in the future? Storyist 5.0 maybe? Maybe not. Reach for the stars, I say. Even if you miss the stars you can still grab the moon. Or a rainbow.

 

Still waiting for bookmarks,

-Thoth.

 

BTW: According to c/net news the good people at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have $100,000,000 dollars to invest in iPhone app company start-ups. Who will be the first with a cellphone WP? Could it be Storyist Cell Inc.? **hint**hint**

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So of course, like any good Mac developer, I downloaded the SDK yesterday (the developer site was overwhelmed for most of the morning) and am going through it with an eye to new products. I'd have some ideas, but I'd like to hear from you all what you would like to do with it. Please indicate if you have an iPhone or not.

 

-Steve

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So of course, like any good Mac developer, I downloaded the SDK yesterday (the developer site was overwhelmed for most of the morning) and am going through it with an eye to new products. I'd have some ideas, but I'd like to hear from you all what you would like to do with it. Please indicate if you have an iPhone or not.

 

-Steve

I don't have an iPhone, in part because I'm waiting to see what the next-generation version looks like, but one feature that might cause me to buy one would be if I could read my own work on them, rather than printing it out.

 

Not sure how practical that is given the screen size, and I'm waiting to see how Amazon develops the Kindle as well, but in the days before my Rocket eBook lost its battery marbles, I used to copy all my ongoing novel projects over to it and read/annotate them there. Saved tons of paper (even though reading the book in printed copy does pick up errors missed on screen, for some reason). The eBook also never worked too well with the Mac, which I assume anything you came up with would.

 

I'm talking about a Word or PDF or Storyist display application here, not the whole nine yards with copyrighted materials, like the Kindle.

Just a thought,

Marguerite

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I don't have an iPhone, in part because I'm waiting to see what the next-generation version looks like, but one feature that might cause me to buy one would be if I could read my own work on them, rather than printing it out.

 

Not sure how practical that is given the screen size, and I'm waiting to see how Amazon develops the Kindle as well, but in the days before my Rocket eBook lost its battery marbles, I used to copy all my ongoing novel projects over to it and read/annotate them there. Saved tons of paper (even though reading the book in printed copy does pick up errors missed on screen, for some reason). The eBook also never worked too well with the Mac, which I assume anything you came up with would.

 

I'm talking about a Word or PDF or Storyist display application here, not the whole nine yards with copyrighted materials, like the Kindle.

Just a thought,

Marguerite

 

I bought the Kindle a little while ago and am using it to read my drafts when I want to get away from the desk. I'll have a longer post on my Kindle experience on my blog later, but for the moment I'll say that I like the device (it's limitations not withstanding), and I think it is a great way to share your manuscripts, but that annotation is a pain.

 

-Steve

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On March 6, 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone Software Roadmap. Basically it talks about how easy it's going to be for developers to put their applications on the iPhone and iTouch. If you want to see the presentation just go to Apple.com.

 

So why am I mentioning this here? I'm thinking about Storyist for the iPhone. Crazy? Maybe. Surely nobody is going to want to do a lot of typing on such a little device. But: I've typed on the iPhone and, surprisingly, it's not uncomfortable; also, a little bit of (advanced) software to convert voice to text could solve the typing problem altogether.

 

How many times have you been in bed sleeping or on the road (or sleeping on the road) and suddenly had that perfect solution for a story problem. Why, you'd just whip out your laptop, right? But which are you more likely to have at hand; a laptop or an iPhone?

 

Every so often you could sideload (i.e., transfer files between connected devices) your Storyist file from your iPhone 2.0 to your Mac. An automated function could keep the devices in synch.

 

Too far in the future? Storyist 5.0 maybe? Maybe not. Reach for the stars, I say. Even if you miss the stars you can still grab the moon. Or a rainbow.

 

Still waiting for bookmarks,

-Thoth.

 

BTW: According to c/net news the good people at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have $100,000,000 dollars to invest in iPhone app company start-ups. Who will be the first with a cellphone WP? Could it be Storyist Cell Inc.? **hint**hint**

 

Did you notice that Apple gets 30% of revenue from what ever software you sell for the iPhone? As a software developer, I say No-Thank-You!

 

IF

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I don't have an iPhone, in part because I'm waiting to see what the next-generation version looks like, but one feature that might cause me to buy one would be if I could read my own work on them, rather than printing it out.

 

Not sure how practical that is given the screen size, and I'm waiting to see how Amazon develops the Kindle as well, but in the days before my Rocket eBook lost its battery marbles, I used to copy all my ongoing novel projects over to it and read/annotate them there. Saved tons of paper (even though reading the book in printed copy does pick up errors missed on screen, for some reason). The eBook also never worked too well with the Mac, which I assume anything you came up with would.

 

I'm talking about a Word or PDF or Storyist display application here, not the whole nine yards with copyrighted materials, like the Kindle.

Just a thought,

Marguerite

 

If all else fails, the iPhone is basically a web browser, so if you can upload your manuscript to web site, you're all set.

 

IF

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Did you notice that Apple gets 30% of revenue from what ever software you sell for the iPhone? As a software developer, I say No-Thank-You!

Yep. I noticed. But you have to ask yourself: If I'm a struggling start-up, is 30% too much to ask for production, distribution, marketing and sales support combined. Even in the "Computer Age" that's going to be a big chunk of your post-development outlay. Also, consider the poor writer who self-publishes paper books: big profit per unit, slim overall profit margin. Distribute on computer (by Amazon's Kindle, say) and I'd bet the profit percentages don't change significantly.

 

But I could be wrong,

-Thoth.

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If all else fails, the iPhone is basically a web browser, so if you can upload your manuscript to web site, you're all set.

That occurred to me too. There are online word processors out there. Nothing like Storyist, of course. Besides, most people have a WP on their computer. I wonder if Storyist Online would be a viable product given the iPhone angle?

 

More food for thought,

Thoth.

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That occurred to me too. There are online word processors out there. Nothing like Storyist, of course. Besides, most people have a WP on their computer. I wonder if Storyist Online would be a viable product given the iPhone angle?

 

More food for thought,

Thoth.

There are a number of good questions here. Is the iPhone the ideal gadget to display text? It's an awfully small screen for that purpose, and how much do you want to zoom in on your manuscript? And yes, of course, it's a Web browser, but do you want multiple drafts of a work in progress on the Web? (These are generic "you's," in the old sense of "one," not specific to Thoth.) Are the benefits to Steve likely to offset the costs involved in developing/adapting the current Storyist to the iPhone? How much would you transfer? The notebook, sure, for those stray thoughts (but can't you already record notes on the iPhone?)--but the whole kit and kaboodle?

 

What I really want is an Apple e-book, one that I could plug into a USB or Firewire port and instantly upload any compatible file. That would be the place for a portable Storyist, I think. There are rumors circulating about such a device, but I think they're pretty vague and amorphous so far. Or am I wrong about that?

 

I realize this is shifting ground a bit from my last post, but actually the discussion was useful in helping me clarify my thinking.

Thanks, guys.

Marguerite

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There are a number of good questions here. Is the iPhone the ideal gadget to display text? It's an awfully small screen for that purpose, and how much do you want to zoom in on your manuscript? And yes, of course, it's a Web browser, but do you want multiple drafts of a work in progress on the Web? (These are generic "you's," in the old sense of "one," not specific to Thoth.) Are the benefits to Steve likely to offset the costs involved in developing/adapting the current Storyist to the iPhone? How much would you transfer? The notebook, sure, for those stray thoughts (but can't you already record notes on the iPhone?)--but the whole kit and kaboodle?

Good questions. Here are my dumb-ass answers.

1) Is the iPhone the ideal gadget to display text? No. Then again, neither is your desktop computer screen. There are always trade offs. In this case, space for portability. This could be resolved with text-to-voice and voice-to-text software. Amazon's Kindle may someday develop into such a machine.

2) It's an awfully small screen for that purpose, and how much do you want to zoom in on your manuscript? I typically work in the Main View at 200% now. So zoom doesn't bother me. Not all of us have your excellent eyesight.

3) Do you want multiple drafts of a work in progress on the Web? That depends on the security. Google is pushing its own online WP and it seems to be getting a lot of positive response.

4) Are the benefits to Steve likely to offset the costs involved in developing/adapting the current Storyist to the iPhone? Steve only knows. But as you can see from his posts, he's looking into it.

5) How much would you transfer? The whole kit and caboodle. More if you add a multi-user collaborative feature. And think of the "fun" of having strangers critique your work in progress (with permission, of course).

 

Specifically,

-Thoth.

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2) It's an awfully small screen for that purpose, and how much do you want to zoom in on your manuscript? I typically work in the Main View at 200% now. So zoom doesn't bother me. Not all of us have your excellent eyesight.

Specifically,

-Thoth.

I meant this differently. I also work at 200% now on a 20-inch monitor. My concern with the iPhone was whether I could see more than two inches of document at a time if I were zoomed in enough to read the words....

 

If not, we're talking about an awful lot of scrolling.

M

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I meant this differently. I also work at 200% now on a 20-inch monitor. My concern with the iPhone was whether I could see more than two inches of document at a time if I were zoomed in enough to read the words....

 

If not, we're talking about an awful lot of scrolling.

M

I've used the iPhone for Web Browsing, which it is built for, and had no trouble reading through long articles in 12-point helvetica. But you're right, it can be a lot of scrolling. Fortunately, scrolling on the iPhone is done with a flick of the finger (literally). The programming in its touch screen is excellent. I only wish the people at Amazon had thought to adopt something similar for the Kindle. (Anyone know the true origin of this name? The word means to light or set on fire, or arouse or inspire, or become impassioned or excited, or to give birth.)

 

Anyway, M, it's nice (sort of) to know you've been partially blinded by display screens like the rest of us.

 

Blinded by the light (cut loose like a goose, another runner in the night),

-Thoth.

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Yep. I noticed. But you have to ask yourself: If I'm a struggling start-up, is 30% too much to ask for production, distribution, marketing and sales support combined. Even in the "Computer Age" that's going to be a big chunk of your post-development outlay. Also, consider the poor writer who self-publishes paper books: big profit per unit, slim overall profit margin. Distribute on computer (by Amazon's Kindle, say) and I'd bet the profit percentages don't change significantly.

 

But I could be wrong,

-Thoth.

 

I guess I'm thinking in terms of volume of sales. If you're feeding a niche market, you have much fewer potential customers. I need to cover my development costs, and if I'm giving away 30%, that's a lot harder to do. Do I have to sell 250,000 licenses to make a profit? Can I actually sell to 1 out of 100 iPhone users?

 

It would be totally different if Apple was acting as publisher (i.e., fronting the money for development), but they're not.

 

It might be profitable to port existing software due to lower overhead (more like the video game market). If you were to write something specifically for the iPhone, though, it had better be something that everyone wants.

 

Due to the closed nature of the platform, I probably won't buy one.

 

IF

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I meant this differently. I also work at 200% now on a 20-inch monitor. My concern with the iPhone was whether I could see more than two inches of document at a time if I were zoomed in enough to read the words....

 

If not, we're talking about an awful lot of scrolling.

M

 

Can't you just put on your super duper magnifying glasses?

 

When did we stray so far from the pad and pencil?

 

IF

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Can't you just put on your super duper magnifying glasses?

My magnifying glasses are only above-average duper. :(

When did we stray so far from the pad and pencil?

1870. That's when the first commercial typewriter went into production for sale in Denmark. By 1909 it was a common sight in business offices in London, England. The first commercially sold machine to use the QWERTY keyboard was the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer. That was in 1873. I suppose it was all downhill from there.

 

Give me a chisel and a slab of stone and I will write for the ages,

-Thoth.

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Give me a chisel and a slab of stone and I will write for the ages,

 

Just make sure it's not limestone.

 

IF

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I guess I'm thinking in terms of volume of sales. If you're feeding a niche market, you have much fewer potential customers. I need to cover my development costs, and if I'm giving away 30%, that's a lot harder to do. Do I have to sell 250,000 licenses to make a profit? Can I actually sell to 1 out of 100 iPhone users?

 

It would be totally different if Apple was acting as publisher (i.e., fronting the money for development), but they're not.

 

It might be profitable to port existing software due to lower overhead (more like the video game market). If you were to write something specifically for the iPhone, though, it had better be something that everyone wants.

 

Due to the closed nature of the platform, I probably won't buy one.

 

IF

 

As you probably know, the fact that Apple gets to approve all apps before they ship and that theirApp Store is the only distribution mechanism for iPhone apps is riling many developers (and, to be fair, not bothering others). Will it stop people from developing apps? Not a chance.

 

Nintendo and Microsoft game consoles are closed systems and these companies also approve all games before they ship. They aren't the sole distributor, however.

 

As for the 30%: High, but not unprecedented. If you want Amazon to carry your book (or software), you must sell it to them at a 45% discount. BTW, if you give your app away for free, Apple doesn't take a cut (or rather, 30% of nothing is still nothing).

 

Now is there a market for a Storyist companion app? I don't know. I couldn't live without my iPhone (it is how I keep track of the business when I'm away from the desk), but unless it is an emergency, I rarely write email or read anything of significant length because I'm much more productive at the computer.

 

-Steve

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As you probably know, the fact that Apple gets to approve all apps before they ship...

Believe it or not, I think this improves sales. It adds a certain comfort zone for the buyer to know the product has been vetted. I'm speaking for myself, of course.

If you want Amazon to carry your book (or software), you must sell it to them at a 45% discount...

45%? Wow. I had no idea. But I do buy from Amazon a lot. The prices are a big part of that.

I couldn't live without my iPhone...

I can. AT&T isn't exactly the cheapest way to fly. This may be the biggest problem faced by a Storyist app. Not reading on the tiny screen, but the cost of reading on the tiny screen. Frankly, the only way I see this working is if the story is only worked on within the iPhone itself (with no money going to AT&T), and then uploaded to your .Mac account, or sideloaded back into your computer.

I rarely write email or read anything of significant length because I'm much more productive at the computer.

Ditto.

 

-Thoth.

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Followed this with interest and I guess it is time to add my two cents

 

One of my tools is a hand held PC. So what does that have to do with the I-PHONE? Think screen size. I have in it a fairly good word processor, that allows me to correct text on the fly. But would I use the stylus for that? No, I am not that nuts. It is too slow. I use a portable key board and that allows me to take my RTF texts and work with me.

 

Now, correct me if I am wrong. But the I-Phone does not have an external keyboard.

 

Yes, the I-Phone is a cool gadget, but I can foresee some serious weaknesses for the working writer, unless you mean to put at most three to four hundred words.

 

That is from the trenches, and yes I have used quite a bit of toys... ranging from the Newton, to a nice early HPC that came with a keyboard and a hell of a battery life, to my current I-PAQ.

 

Now, I've heard rumors, and they are rumors so far, that they are thinking of bringing back the trusty Newton. If they do, knowing MAC, they will add something to it that will make it a practical writing tool, as well as organizer, PDA et al. Perhaps that is the next generation I-Phone. Now given some of the billing structures for the I-Phone, that gives me pause as well, but that is a whole different kettle of fish... and yes my cell phone is three years old and a very basic model

 

:-)

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Followed this with interest and I guess it is time to add my two cents

 

One of my tools is a hand held PC. So what does that have to do with the I-PHONE? Think screen size. I have in it a fairly good word processor, that allows me to correct text on the fly. But would I use the stylus for that? No, I am not that nuts. It is too slow. I use a portable key board and that allows me to take my RTF texts and work with me.

 

Now, correct me if I am wrong. But the I-Phone does not have an external keyboard.

 

Yes, the I-Phone is a cool gadget, but I can foresee some serious weaknesses for the working writer, unless you mean to put at most three to four hundred words.

 

That is from the trenches, and yes I have used quite a bit of toys... ranging from the Newton, to a nice early HPC that came with a keyboard and a hell of a battery life, to my current I-PAQ.

 

Now, I've heard rumors, and they are rumors so far, that they are thinking of bringing back the trusty Newton. If they do, knowing MAC, they will add something to it that will make it a practical writing tool, as well as organizer, PDA et al. Perhaps that is the next generation I-Phone. Now given some of the billing structures for the I-Phone, that gives me pause as well, but that is a whole different kettle of fish... and yes my cell phone is three years old and a very basic model

 

:-)

 

You make some excellent points. I believe the iPhone has a graphical keyboard, with fat finger correction.

 

I agree that the billing structure is questionable. When will I finally be able to get a discount on my cell service because I bought my phone outright? We're just subsidizing new hardware and outrageous profits.

 

I heard some rumors about Newton which sounded like people might have been getting confused with the Safari Pad (which became the iPhone).

 

As far as Apps on the iPhone go, I'd probably build my free software with a web interface so it's usable by crackberries as well. It's going to be years before most people will be able to afford an iPhone, but used crackberries are in a more affordable range.

 

IF

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On March 6, 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone Software Roadmap. Basically it talks about how easy it's going to be for developers to put their applications on the iPhone and iTouch. If you want to see the presentation just go to Apple.com.

 

So why am I mentioning this here? I'm thinking about Storyist for the iPhone. Crazy? Maybe. Surely nobody is going to want to do a lot of typing on such a little device. But: I've typed on the iPhone and, surprisingly, it's not uncomfortable; also, a little bit of (advanced) software to convert voice to text could solve the typing problem altogether.

 

How many times have you been in bed sleeping or on the road (or sleeping on the road) and suddenly had that perfect solution for a story problem. Why, you'd just whip out your laptop, right? But which are you more likely to have at hand; a laptop or an iPhone?

 

Every so often you could sideload (i.e., transfer files between connected devices) your Storyist file from your iPhone 2.0 to your Mac. An automated function could keep the devices in synch.

 

Too far in the future? Storyist 5.0 maybe? Maybe not. Reach for the stars, I say. Even if you miss the stars you can still grab the moon. Or a rainbow.

 

Still waiting for bookmarks,

-Thoth.

 

BTW: According to c/net news the good people at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have $100,000,000 dollars to invest in iPhone app company start-ups. Who will be the first with a cellphone WP? Could it be Storyist Cell Inc.? **hint**hint**

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I am trying to decide whether to buy Storyist, like some of the features but I've written nine novels without any sort of fancy software and I'm not sure I'd use all the features. BUT...just logged onto your site and saw the post about iPHONE. That truly could be the clincher. I've had an iPHone for a month now and I love it--especially the yellow note pad feature. I do exactly what you've described, make notes while I'm in bed, then I e-mail it to my computer so it's ready for me in the morning. No lost, non transcribed notes, no ink blurred by spilled water. Is this really going to happen? Soon?

Janice

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I am trying to decide whether to buy Storyist, like some of the features but I've written nine novels without any sort of fancy software and I'm not sure I'd use all the features. BUT...just logged onto your site and saw the post about iPHONE. That truly could be the clincher. I've had an iPHone for a month now and I love it--especially the yellow note pad feature. I do exactly what you've described, make notes while I'm in bed, then I e-mail it to my computer so it's ready for me in the morning. No lost, non transcribed notes, no ink blurred by spilled water. Is this really going to happen? Soon?

Janice

 

Fictionista,

 

Thanks for the feedback. Hard to imagine life before the iPhone, isn't it ;)

 

I've done some experimenting with the iPhone simulator (which is all that is available to most developers these days), but don't have anything to announce at the moment. Please don't base your buying decision the availability of this feature--or any other future feature for that matter.

 

-Steve

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By the way, I mentioned Kindle as a possibly similar device above. You can follow the Kindle discussion here.

 

And you can follow Steve and Thoth to the Writers' Lounge to discuss my blog. (Yes Thoth, I'm moderating myself ;))

 

-Steve

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I am trying to decide whether to buy Storyist, like some of the features but I've written nine novels without any sort of fancy software and I'm not sure I'd use all the features. BUT...just logged onto your site and saw the post about iPHONE. That truly could be the clincher. I've had an iPHone for a month now and I love it--especially the yellow note pad feature. I do exactly what you've described, make notes while I'm in bed, then I e-mail it to my computer so it's ready for me in the morning. No lost, non transcribed notes, no ink blurred by spilled water. Is this really going to happen? Soon?

Janice

Soon? Right now I think Steve has his talented hands full just getting me my bookmarks.

 

But I'm curious. You say you don't use any "fancy" software? That would pretty much eliminate any high-end word processor. So what do you use? A (**shudder**) typewriter?

 

Frankly, I feel Storyist is still worth your serious consideration even without an iPhone app. It neatly solves the problems associated with thorough note taking and progressive ad hoc development without much distraction from the actual writing. For me and many others this is vital. I would also point out that, if you are writing a series, the more books you write the more data you will need to keep track of.

 

A Storyist Enthusiast,

-Thoth.

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