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Summary:

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber teams up with an engineer and designer to build a new iPhone app called Vesper. It’s a note-taking and to-do list maker available now for $4.99.

Vesper iOS app

John Gruber isn’t just the best-connected Apple blogger: he’s now joined the company’s legion of iOS app makers. On Thursday he, along with his two co-founders, launched their first iOS app together, called Vesper, a hybrid notes and list-making app.

The app, which is not cheap at $4.99, has been in the works since last fall, its genesis linked to a meeting between Brent Simmons, the app’s developer, Dave Wiskus, its designer, and Gruber, who calls himself the app’s “director.” They met at a conference in Montreal, and named the company Q Branch. Gruber says the app is based on “an idea I’ve been pondering for years.”

Vesper iOS appIt’s hard to categorize what exactly Vesper is: it’s a note-taking app, but it can also function as a to-do list. These are both popular categories of apps on the iOS App Store, so Vesper has its work cut out for it to stand out among them: it’s basically competing with everything from Evernote to Wunderlist to Google Keep to Clear.

“What’s the difference between a thought, an idea, and something you want to do?” Gruber asked. “I don’t know exactly. That’s why we made Vesper.”

The app is very simple and from just some brief use, it’s pretty speedy. You can quickly add notes or thoughts with a “+” button, swipe to archive items, tag them, and attach photos. You can share them only via email or iMessage; no social options exist yet. The other thing missing: any way to sync your notes to another device. This is only an iPhone app, so if you create a to-do list or collection of thoughts here, there’s no simple way to also see that list on your desktop or a tablet.

One of the standout things about Vesper is the appearance: it’s very simple with muted tones; which is probably intended not to distract from the “get things done” point of the app. (It’s also reminiscent of the stripped-down simplicity of DaringFireball.net.)

It’s hard not to notice how very “flat” the design is. In other words, very much in line with the latest trends in iOS design and — considering Gruber’s sources — likely to blend pretty seamlessly with iOS 7 design changes Apple’s likely to announce at WWDC next week.

  1. as you said, this is not cheap. Would have bought if it was for 99c.
    With no cloud sync, this is really expensive and not much of a use I guess. People after collecting thoughts, want to access it on other devices like iPad and laptops.

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    1. William Dowell Thursday, June 6, 2013

      I think this is prob a bit of the case of this being Gruber and him knowing he will get the marketing etc so wont struggle too much to sell.. He can always lower the price once those who know who he is have bought it, and it goes to mere mortals!

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  2. William Dowell Thursday, June 6, 2013

    An indication of what iOS 7 will look like, UX wise? I mean surely if Gruber chose to launch this days before WWDC he must be fairly confident that in a few days it wont look dreadful… And if Gruber doesnt know what iOS 7 looks like, nobody does..

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  3. Marshall Kirkpatrick Thursday, June 6, 2013

    I am considering taking out a second mortgage on my house in order to purchase this, or maybe selling my dog on Craigslist. Come on! ;) $5 is expensive for something that purports to offer a new level of organization for your tasks and thoughts and precious life energy?? I don’t think I’m unusual among readers of this blog to say that I regularly have ideas or obligations that I need to remember and work with that have a lot more than $5 riding on them. I’m going to go buy this right now just out of indignation about other peoples’ indignation about the price. If anyone I know and admire would like, I’ll buy someone else a copy too – just email me and I’ll send you a code. Sheesh.

    Also, Brent Simmons is no slouch either. The co-creator of NetNewsWire, he’s built software that did more for new media, blogging, RSS, my career and many other peoples’ than almost anyone this side of Dave Winer and Ev Williams.

    We should all go buy his newest app and say thank you. It’s like buying this team one good beer in a bar, except in this case you get a beautiful piece of software that aims to make your complicated life simpler.

    I just bought it and the tag based organization is very nicely done, the swipe to archive is too. I paid $5 for this app and it didn’t hurt a bit!

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    1. For all the great free content Gruber has provided, I’ll by this app. Notes on iOS has gotten too stale for me. I’m glad that most apps are cheap or free compared to $100s you can pay for software, but where did people get the idea that a $5 or $10 app is unreasonable? For all of the ads that get shoved in our faces 24/7, I wish I could pay for more of the content I read/watch, just to get rid of the ads. Major apps like this will also get “free” updates for years.

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  4. For all the great free content Gruber has provided, I’ll by this app. Notes on iOS has gotten too stale for me. I’m glad that most apps are cheap or free compared to $100s you can pay for software, but where did people get the idea that a $5 or $10 app is unreasonable? For all of the ads that get shoved in our faces 24/7, I wish I could pay for more of the apps and content I read/watch, just to get rid of the ads. Major apps like this will also get “free” updates for years.

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  5. Reblogged this on Klifton and commented:
    I heard good opinions about it in Twit show but everybody must judge on his own. I did not buy for now but I will keep my eye on it.

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