Creating New Expressive Social Mediums on the iPhone

Ge Wang, Co-founder/CTO/Assistant Prof., Smule/Stanford

Date: Wednesday, March 4

Time: 4:00 - 4:30 PM

Location: Salon E

Due to their mobility, intimacy, and sheer strength in numbers, mobile phones have become much more than simply "miniature computers", increasingly serving as personal and "natural" extensions of ourselves. Therein lies, we believe, immense potential to reshape the way we think and do, and especially in how we engage one another socially.  This presentation explores the iPhone as a unique platform for creating new expressive, social mediums.  As case studies, we demonstrate and examine how Smule's "social sonic artifacts" (e.g., Sonic Lighter, and Ocarina) were able to take full advantage of the iPhone's intersection of technologies (multitouch, powerful mobile CPU and GPU, full audio pipeline, GPS/location, persistent data connection via 3G/Edge) to provide a unique experience that is at once expressive on a personal level, and social on a global scale.

An example:
Smule's Ocarina was released in the iPhone App Store in early November, and within 4 days, reached the #1 Paid App spot in over 40 countries and stay there for 3 weeks.  Since then, more than half a million users have downloaded Ocarina, playing and listening to over 30 million Ocarina performances worldwide via the app's geo-tracked social features.  1200 user-generated sheet music scores have attracted over a million hits on the online forum, and inspired hundreds of user videos on YouTube.  Smule demonstrates that, through intersections of the mobile, expressive, and social, it is possible to effect immediate penetration on a massive scale, creating global communities overnight.

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