I was sitting in the audience at the CanUX conference when I got the e-mail. Someone from our Toronto office had sent out a note with a link to this prototype of an experimental iPhone Web application. I was immediately delighted at both the idea and execution and couldn't wait to get the thing running on my own iPhone. My initial thought? How cool.
But let me take a step back and offer up an insight as someone who loves their iPhone. The iPhone was designed with "talkability" built right into it. By this, I mean it's an extremely effective way to do "show and tell". I'm always showing folks stuff on my iPhone—whether it be pulling up a video clip on You Tube and watching it with the boys—or showing photos to a friend. Web applications on the iPhone have opened up a whole new world of both utility and delight. I enjoy using the facebook version on my iPhone more than I do the full blown Web version. This is because it's simpler and more importantly—I'm in "recreational" mode when I'm mobile. So I'm more prone to exploration using my iPhone and a connection to the Web.
That's why I think the "Pocket Planet Gazer" is so neat. I pulled it up when sitting on the couch with my 7-year-old and instantly, learning about the planets became interactive, casual and fun. And I felt like I was doing something which brought us closer. This is what marketing should be. Stuff that actually makes life just a little better.
You can check out the iPhone application for yourself here:
You can also see that actual application from CM's newly designed site at criticalmass.com. (currently in Beta). Check it out and unleash 7-year-old in you. :-)