Why iCookbook iPad app can be part of your Thanksgiving Day menu

Nov 17, 2011
Shine

If you’ve ever wondered what the future would look like if technology kept advancing but skipped over iPhones and tablets entirely, iCookbook ($4.99) could give you a pretty good idea. That’s because the popular iPad (and now iPhone) cooking app was originally conceived three years ago as a kitchen appliance. In a pre-iPad world, Jerry […]

If you’ve ever wondered what the future would look like if technology kept advancing but skipped over iPhones and tablets entirely, iCookbook ($4.99) could give you a pretty good idea.

That’s because the popular iPad (and now iPhone) cooking app was originally conceived three years ago as a kitchen appliance. In a pre-iPad world, Jerry Croft, President of the Cooking Division and Digital Media at Publications International, wanted to take his company’s numerous cook books and condense them into something a little more tech-friendly.

“We actually got as far as all of the design specs like chip sets, accelerometer, including form factor designs, when Apple came out with the iPad,” Croft explained. “At that point, it became clear that our best path was to take all of our features originally intended for a kitchen appliance and built an app for the iPad instead. Viola, iCookbook.”

Indeed, features like a voice command that enable users to turn the pages on recipes without getting food all over their device, ended up in the app.

It’s not every day you get to see an app that was actually conceived as something else entirely in the flesh. And now iCookbook has transformed again, from appliance to iPad app to iPhone app. Once you’ve moved something from its own propriety appliance-style format to the iPad, it seems like bringing it to the iPhone would be a snap. But Croft had some concerns.

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“We originally launched with iPad only. At that time, we believed that we needed the extra screen size in order to deliver a great product,” Croft said. “After many requests for an iPhone version, our development team at Ratio Interactive in Seattle set about to reconfigure iCookbook for the smaller screen. When they showed me the wireframes and comps, I was blown away at how good they looked. We didn’t just try to downsize the iPad version, we actually started from scratch.”

Given that Croft has been involved in a process that has seen the physical cookbook go digital in more way than one, he would seem like an obvious choice to pinpoint the next trend in cooking tech. While he had a few ideas, he preferred to defer to the end users before he’d offer up his crystal ball.

“We believe video content will become more important and we have plans to expand significantly in this area,” Croft said. “Most important to us is listening to our users and responding to what they want. I heard a story some years ago that when you build a school, you shouldn’t build the sidewalks until you see where the kids walk.

“I think that’s a good metaphor with how we want to see iCookbook evolve. We want to respond to the wants and needs of our users and mirror what our users are requesting and how they are using the app.”

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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