We have a lot of projects planned for 2014, and today I'm happy to tell you about the first major one, Classroom PDF: A PDF App for teachers.
Why Another PDF App?
There are a lot of PDF Apps in the App Store. Why do another one?
Classroom PDF has unique features to fit a teacher’s workflow, specifically for annotating worksheets and walking-through answers in class. Here's how we envision the typical workflow:
1. Open any PDF file from other Apps (“open in…" from Dropbox etc.).
2. Add covers over parts of a page (i.e. answers to questions), and tap to toggle them.
3. Use an AppleTV or physical connector to mirror the iPad's screen to a projector.
4. Use the virtual laser-pointer to call out parts of the page.
5. Annotate documents with smooth ink, and email annotated or graded files to students.
In addition, it has a color-coded category system for organizing files, e.g. for multiple classes.
Check out the 90 second video demo here to get a better idea of how it works.
I'm Interested, How Can I Get Classroom PDF?
Classroom PDF is currently in Beta, and we need your help to finish it.
Since Classroom PDF is meant to serve a fairly specific workflow, we want to be sure that it meets your needs, and deliver something that will actually be used quite often.
We're going to try something new. There are three ways to participate:
1. Tell Us What You Think
Does this App even make sense, or are we courting financial ruin? We need you to tell us.
Click here to fill in a brief survey. In particular, if you are a teacher who currently uses PDF files in class, what does your workflow look like, and what parts are missing?
2. Join the Beta Program
If the description above fits the kinds of things you are already doing with PDF files (albeit with a mishmash of Apps), and are willing to spend time giving us feedback, consider signing up for the Beta program.
Click here to fill in the survey, and indicate that you'd like to participate in the Beta Program.
In return for a free copy of Classroom PDF, we’re asking you to use it in your actual work and let us know what you think.
While we have a limited number of beta registration slots (they are controlled by Apple), we want to accommodate as many folks as we can.
If you think Classroom PDF is something you are interested in, but aren't able or willing to participate in the Beta, you can still…
3. Sign up for the Launch Special
When Classroom PDF goes on sale in the App Store, it will have a one-time introductory price. We haven't finalized the pricing yet, but it will be a great deal no matter what.
Click here to sign up to be notified right before launch time. The price will be in effect for 24 hours at launch, so definitely sign up if you are interested. We intend this to be a bit of reward for you guys, our fans, and your friends.
The launch date is going to depend on the outcome of the Beta program, but we expect it to be sometime this Spring.
We Need Your Feedback, Really
We experimenting to see if this can become a model for semi-custom App development that’s a win-win for everyone.
As an independent studio, we can't afford large in-person focus groups or hands-on field testing. We need you guys to tell us what works and what doesn’t (and you certainly do that :)).
If you look at the App Store, the successful Apps tend to be, not surprisingly, general purpose Apps that appeal to a wide audience.
That's fine, but what happens when you need features that are more specific to a particular profession or scenario? Existing Apps can only be extended so far before things break. It's also just not economically feasible for App Developers to risk investing in niche Apps, nor is it affordable to pay for custom built-software.
As a result, whole classes of useful Apps never get written.
So, here's an attempt at finding a way to make these Apps work. Think of it like a Kickstarter, but with zero risk and only upside for backers - instead of pledging dollars, you provide feedback and real-world insight. We'll invest in building the Apps, and you vote with your attention and wallets when the projects are complete.
If you like the things we are making, you can further help by telling your friends and colleagues about them.
Working Better Together
We care a lot about making Apps that people actually enjoy using, and we think this is a way to make better Apps.
This is new for us, and we're interested to see how things go. Do you like this approach to product development? Or have suggestions for improvement? Do let us know!
You can contact us anytime via the feedback form here.
Thanks for your input.