The story of the iPad app Taposé is one I first covered back in the days of Nothing but Tablets, one of the sites that were merged into this site last year. A little over two years ago, a Kickstarter project called Taposé launched, aiming to bring the functionality of the Microsoft Courier concept tablet from back in ’09 to the iPad in form of an app. I was excited, as the original Courier concept had me quite excited, and was a hundred times more appealing to me than Microsoft’s realized tablet, the Surface, ever will be. The project was funded by the end of May ’11, and development of the app began.
By early December that year, the app was ready for the public, and that’s when it all started falling apart. After a month in Apple’s hands, the app was rejected for a reason that’s just as idiotic two years later, namely that it falls into a category of apps that “[…] create alternate desktop/home screen environments or simulate multi-app widget experiences […]”. Once again Apple’s app review team was ruling one way for some apps and another way for another, and the Taposé team had to fight the ruling to actually get anywhere with the app. Eventually it won, and Taposé was released in late March of last year.
Having the app release a full year after it first appeared on Kickstarter was the moment many, including me, had waited for. I spent the weeks after the release playing with the app, releasing articles about it, and so on. Taposé’s benefit was always that it had a great concept for an app from the start, and while it lacked a ton of features that other note taking apps had, I think everyone thought it would just be a matter of time until the updates started flowing, turning Taposé into everyone’s favorite note taking app.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go that way. Taposé had some major issues with performance on older hardware, and had managed to get itself in quite the jam by initially releasing the app with support for those devices and then later realizing it wasn’t really going to happen. On top of that it had an army of backers behind it which had every right to demand that the app they had supported would support their device, and as such the developer team had to sit down and try to make the app work better with the iPad 1. At one point it actually tried to remove support for the iPad 1, even, but was met with a “no” from Apple.
After that, I think the developer team just gave up. The updates since then have basically added nothing of consequence to the app, while removing some features that I think many would agree were more important than what was added. As someone who uses note taking apps all the time, Taposé is no closer to being an option for everyday note taking for me than it was when it released, well over a year ago. It still lacks very basic features needed to make it usable for me, and I think that feeling is shared by many who were initially optimistic about this app.
Technically, the app isn’t dead. It was updated as late as the middle of May, and there are still life signs from the company behind it. Personally though, I think it’s had its chance, and failed. It’s been more than two years since it was announced, and more than a year since it was released, and I think it’s perfectly OK to expect more progress than what’s happened in that time frame. I know developers who add more features in literally 45 minutes than what the Taposé team has done in the last year, and while none of the note taking apps on iOS are anywhere near that speed for adding new features, their steady pace has put them even further ahead of Taposé in the last year than they were initially.
It seems like Taposé is the app equivalent of that Russian rocket failure that happened a week ago. Something was installed upside down, the launch failed, and it ended in a catastrophe. I’m really sad that the app didn’t end up being the success everyone had hoped, as I think it’s a really good idea, and other apps that have similar split-screen functionality (like Notes Plus) have it more as an afterthought. Perhaps it will be back with a major overhaul in the future, and I sure hope it will be, but I’m not holding my breath.