Boston Startups Stake Out iPad Territory: Big Plans at Apperian, Jumptap, Skyhook

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FourSquareX—a laptop and desktop application that lets people “check in” to FourSquare, a mobile social network from the New York-based startup of the same name—will now grab location data using Skyhook’s technology. “Desktop Twitter apps are also adding location,” Morgan says. “We expect the same on an iPad.”

Apple is “really leading the way” in the world of location-based services, Morgan says. “I don’t think you can get more enthusiastic about a relationship than the one we’ve had with these guys. They have been tremendous supporters of our company and have frankly driven the whole location market, which we benefit from.”

If anything, Chuck Goldman, the founder and CEO of Boston-based mobile application development house Apperian, is even more enthused than Morgan. When I reached him on his iPhone yesterday, the former Apple executive—he ran the company’s professional services division for eight years—was in the middle of a six-hour meeting at Apple headquarters in Cupertino. “There is a lot to dig into and learn about, but we’re doing the best we can,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”

Apperian’s specialty to date has been building iPhone applications for large corporate clients. I wrote back in September, for example, about a very slick app it had built for Stratham, NH-based Timberland, the outdoor and athletic clothing company. Goldman says Apperian has long been preparing for the advent of the iPad, which has an iPhone-like user interface but a much larger screen, opening up many new possibilities to app developers.

“One of the things we’ve been talking about specifically with Apple is how to use all of this newfound screen real estate,” Goldman says. “The resolution is so much bigger and crisper and clearer that you can’t hide anything—you have to be much more precise in your attention to detail and the fit-and-finish of the app. But you also have a football field of space to work with, so we’re looking at how to integrate more graphics and video and other things that may have opened up on separate screens on the iPhone. With the new SDK [software development kit] there is much more you can do now in terms of creating in-line multimedia.”

Goldman says Apperian is working with magazine and newspaper publishers who have been “waiting a long time” for an Apple product that might show off their content to better advantage than existing devices like the iPhone or the Amazon Kindle. “The news industry is suffering so badly, and … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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2 responses to “Boston Startups Stake Out iPad Territory: Big Plans at Apperian, Jumptap, Skyhook”

  1. Phil Ayres says:

    It is great to see that startups are getting a boost from the iPad. My concern is that we will just see a re-hash of all the current iPhone apps, which were really just reworked browser-based web apps.

    How much new innovation will we see stemming from the iPad? Or are we going to see developers’ time and money being wasted redeveloping the same-old stuff?

    The iPad could be an amazing tool for business, but I doubt we’ll see the investment beyond the get-rich-quick gimmicks and marketing ‘apps’.

    I wrote a couple of blogs about the iPad – maybe I’ll come round to the device, but right now it just seems like a 500 dollar mobile advertising screen.

    Nevertheless, good luck to the companies you talk about in this article.


  2. I met a young kid yesterday that made over $200,000 on a really simple app in the last couple months. His plans are to port it to be used on the iPad where I am sure it will sell even better. Today I have wondering if I am in the wrong business.