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We are holding this event
to discuss many aspects of the development and release
and the business model behind the app.
You are a select group of highly skilled and powerful individuals
who've been brought together to grill these four people
about their enormously innovative iPad app.
Cos in 1922, when Eliot published The Waste Land,
he would probably not have imagined that fewer than 90 years later
people like me would be walking around with glass tablets in our hands,
reading it and finally getting through all the footnotes.
Well, I'm really excited to have a chance
to gather with the team that made The Waste Land, and with you,
to take a look at The Waste Land for iPad.
And I think the opportunity is to look at it as an example
of one of many different things that one can do in the cultural space.
We just happened to have the good fortune
to be in the right place at the right time,
and I think a lot of the things we did are extremely straightforward.
We did them with the help of many people in this room.
The first thing I need to do is find The Waste Land. There we are.
I'll launch it and in a fairly forensic manner quickly go through its features
just to establish the groundwork for what we're talking about today.
It is an app. It's available on the Apple Store around the world.
You can if you want publish one edition
that goes to every single one of the, I think, about 40 stores around the world.
It's priced at $14,
And a customer buys it, Apple takes 30%
and the remaining 70% comes to the group that made it.
The title is very much an electronic edition of the poem.
So if you launch the main poem
you get the pure text, carefully set out.
You can scroll through it up and down.
If I touch the title at the top
I get the other sections of the poem and can jump quickly to one of them.
Then if I want I can begin to introduce some of the new features
that go beyond the printed page.
And let's select Alec Guinness to read Death by Water.
(Guinness) Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss. A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
(Whitby) And let's change to TS Eliot in 1947 to finish the verse.
(Eliot) Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
(Whitby) So other recordings we have - by Eliot in 1933,
Ted Hughes, Viggo Mortensen.
And then two different versions of a performance by Fiona Shaw -
one where she just is audio only,
the other where she reads...
and, as you'll see, if we turn the iPad on its side
we can have both the text and Fiona Shaw performing it.
(Shaw) After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience
(Whitby) So I can stop Fiona Shaw just by tapping once on the video.
If I move my finger left and right on the video - you can see me doing it -
the text will follow and synchronise.
I can also scroll the text and wherever I touch, Fiona will catch up and speak.
If I turn the iPad on its side, the performance will go full screen.
Now, if we go back to the main menu
and begin to look at some of the other facilities and features we can bring
to help us interpret and understand the poem,
one of them is notes and annotation.
And now if we go into the poem the notes slide in from the side.
And as I scroll through and choose a line
the relevant note is highlighted on one side.
If I look through the notes - these are Southam's notes, published by Faber -
the right part of the poem will be highlighted.
You're now looking at a relatively complicated screen, I suppose.
One of the underlying design principles
is that if ever you turn the iPad vertical
all that complexity drops away and you're back in the poem itself.
That's an important thing.
If I stroke the poem in the right way...
Eliot's original manuscript appears.
And if we go to an earlier section
we can see many of the changes and deletions
that Ezra Pound and Eliot's first wife made to the poem.
And then just two other features to show
in terms of a review of what's in the title.
One is the very important Perspectives section,
where we have a combination of interviews
filmed for the Arena which Adam Low directed on TS Eliot,
including Seamus Heaney.
(Heaney) Eliot is very good and very clear,
and what he says strikes me as a remembrance,
about the actual way in which poetry you read
comes to you, survives with you and changes in you over a lifetime.
So about 35 different pieces of interview,
talking from many different perspectives about the poem -
some academic, some literary.
Paul Keegan, Faber's poetry editor,
in particular discusses the history of the text.
But we also have a musician and a novelist...
and Jeanette Winterson talking.
And then other interviews that we filmed
to supplement the material that was available from the Arena.
And then a kind of final feature which is in the poem,
and that is a navigational overview of the poem
that allows you to navigate through choosing each section at a time.
So that, in a - I hope - short space of time,
is a kind of overview of what was implemented.
It doesn't begin to address questions, which I hope we can go on to do now.
The most interesting thing for me is giving a new way
of accessing a text that for many people is difficult and unapproachable.
Whether it's through the performances or the perspectives,
having that surrounding, in a very easy-to-use way,
surrounding the poem, I think is very interesting.
What I find very striking is the utter clarity of presentation,
and the intellectual boldness of putting the text at the centre of it.
It's not video-led, it's not audio-led. The text is completely central to it.
It's the intellectual boldness of it that I find very attractive.
I think it's some of the lessons we talked about earlier.
One is that partnership really is the way to go.
If you try and go it on your own, you'll end up doing it second-rate.
Secondly, it's that being obsessional about quality
is really absolutely sine qua non of success in this area.
And thirdly, I think, it's not to have too many preconceptions.
To have the flexibility in your team and in your working practices
to, when you see an opportunity that comes up late in the day,
to go with it if you possibly can.
One of the things we quite quickly realised
is that building an app isn't just having an idea and a software developer.
It's also... There's a designer, there's many, many other roles.
And people sitting here - Adam and Martin.
It takes a lot of people to make one.
I'd say at Faber we still think that it's something very much on our minds -
how much we could and should become closer to being...
not a technology company, I don't think we'll ever be that,
but have greater technological competence in-house.
The software engine behind it
really was developed pretty much from scratch for The Waste Land.
And it uses a combination of UIKit,
which is Apple's built-in user interface...
standard user interface technology.
But in almost all cases we have greatly customised that or simply replaced it.
Very quickly, the challenge certainly from the design perspective
was to create a reading experience,
not to distract from the core text of the poem.
And that was the challenge,
because I think new media audiences want to tap, want to click.
The attention span, they're seduced by the technology.
So we wanted to create a kind of a slow experience but a rich experience,
so one that would start with the core of the poem text
and then draw you in deeper and deeper so that you could...
the interface would reveal all this extra functionality,
this extra richness, around which the poem remains the core.
And to get people to actually read the poem,
not to just kind of superficially skim through the notes
and watch the performance.
I'm interested in, perhaps, the questions that you asked yourself
in terms of the user or the audience,
and how that influenced your design process.
I mean, again, we had an early discussion
with Faber and the poetry editor and different experts on the poem.
And one thing that Henry was always clear about
was that it should appeal to people who haven't perhaps read The Waste Land
or who aren't familiar with The Waste Land, it should be accessible to them.
But it also had to withstand critical acclaim from an educated audience.
One final very important principle of this kind of production,
and that's to keep the software and the code and the interface and functionality
separate from the content.
So in principle we could take something completely different and put it in.
John is scrupulous in designing software in that way.
(Morgan) Can I ask, from deciding to do it to publication, how long did it take?
And could it be done... is that...
(Whitby) We could now do the next one in four months.
To do the same sort of thing on Android or even in HTML5
would have been an enormous challenge,
and I don't think we would have got the experience absolutely right.
That's not to say that particularly Android isn't getting to that point.
It's moving extremely fast.
But, certainly at the time we considered this, that was the case.
There are a lot of contracts underpinning this app,
not just that core one. The different performers, the people involved -
none of them follows any particularly established rules.
So we had to... we tailored it to what was needed.
So it comes back to this point about partnership.
Another advantage of partnership with an IP owner is that if you can do that
you can get the core rights that you need.
What I would hope is that what we've built on many of our titles,
the ideas that are there will transfer to the new platforms as they arise.
And then at that point our contracts include a mechanism
to go and, in good faith,
negotiate terms for moving it onto those new platforms.
- I think you have to be flexible. - That's fascinating.
So you've built in the assumption of technological redundancy
into the agreements,
knowing that having been successful
the chances of moving on to the next platform are increased?
We're not getting any rights other than the agreement to talk in good faith.
And it then makes that conversation in four years' time much easier.
We have an absolute principle at Touch Press
that on any project we work on we end up owning the software,
and the interface and the code that's there.
And Hilary is, I think,
wise enough to respect that a publishing company has to have that.
And the quid pro quo for that is that we, I hope, offer Hilary
a series of projects that would be attractive for her in the future.
Apple has a really strong iron curtain
between the iTunes Store, where things get promoted,
and the people we have a relationship with, in Developer Relations.
And it's a Darwinian meritocracy. We are as good as our next app.
And for all that we've done successful things in the past,
it's not worth anything, really.
I think something else that helps a lot is a very organised process
for when Fiona finds a mistake. There's then a formal process for fixing it.
and that's something that's quite alien to people making films or editing books.
When the last piece comes in place,
suddenly you have something that people enjoy and experience.
So the limited amount of copies
that I was more or less forced by my colleagues to give out
almost always resulted in very negative feedback.
You know - "This is crap. Why are you wasting all this money?"
So you have to have faith.
We've scratched the surface, cos there's so much underneath.
But I hope that after this you've got an understanding of what happens -
how complicated it is, but how rewarding it is.
And I think the three things that I've taken from this
are the absolute importance of committed partnerships
among people who work closely together,
the stress on the quality of the product and not compromising on that,
and the importance of keeping your codebase in good order.
Captions by internetsubtitling.com