Earlier this summer, buzz echoed around the internets about an iPad app called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. If you haven’t seen it you should. And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a kids book…adults should find it amusing and inspiring as well.
Shortly after purchasing the app, I discovered there was also a short film, based on the same story as the book. I think the film came first, but I’m not certain. It’s kind of a chicken and egg thing. An HD version of the film was available in iTunes for a measly $2.99, and it has now found a home on our AppleTV. My kids love it, and I do too.
The film and app were developed by Moonbot Studios, which was started, from what I understand, by a former Pixar illustrator. I’m looking forward to any work they do in the future, but I’m less interested in the origins of Morris Lessmore, and more interested in how he found his way into our home. An exhaustive 79 second search of Google shows me that there is only one way to hang out with Morris Lessmore, whether in the form of an app or a film. iTunes.
Much is made of how the iOS products are thriving, especially in the tablet market, because they are so easy to use. From the consumer side, they offer a great user experience with a learning curve that looks more like a homestretch. It all just works.
On the other side of things, the distribution side, Moonbot has tapped into a market opportunity that didn’t exist a few years ago. They have a one-stop distribution system that puts an app and a film in my home with only one stopping point along the way. There are no manufacturing processes or film studio contracts or big box stores. They only have to create and upload. Sure, there are critiques of Apple’s approval process for iTunes, but from my end of things, it looks like the distribution side, much like the consumer side, just works. (I would even argue that the hassles in the iTunes approval process are what make it all work so well on the consumer side.)
I’m looking forward to a possible Amazon tablet. Between the Kindle library, their MP3 store, and their video store, they might be able to put together an appealing product, at least for content convenience. Yes, I didn’t mention the Amazon app store, because Android apps are a pain in the digital wazoo based on my experiences with a (theoretically) rooted Nook Color.
What makes the iOS product line appealing right now is not only the great consumer experience, but the distribution opportunities for anyone who wants to create great content. Films, music, books and apps (and the line between apps and books, especially picture books, is starting to blur) can all be created and made available through one point of distribution.
So I’m excited about what Moonbot might be working on next. I understand they are much bigger than some guy sitting in his mom’s basement, but their distribution of Morris Lessmore is just the start of many more opportunities for little guys and big guys. I’m thinking about what I might be able to put out there, and I’m thinking there are opportunities for you too. Or the guy who lives next door in his mom’s basement. While some are concerned that Apple is turning their back on high-end professionals as they continue to streamline products (ie Final Cut Pro), it looks to me like they are creating opportunities (for better and sometimes worse) for aspiring creatives to get their content in our hands and homes. And as the streamline, the less is opening the way for more.