Developer FiftyThree is best known for Paper, one of the most iconic drawing apps for the iPad since it was released in 2012. But earlier this year, the company quietly released its second major application: Paste, an incredibly nice-looking slideshow app for the web with deep integration into Slack that looked to redesign the humble slide deck for a modern, team-based, collaborative work environment. And now, Paste is finally making its way to the platform people know FiftyThree for best: the iPad and iPhone.
In many ways, Paste has always felt like it should have an iOS app. The entire app is built around a simple UI for editing slides meant to let users focus on content instead of fiddling with fonts and layouts, with a robust drag-and-drop function for automatically generating content out of images, links, and videos. Add in the Facebook-like reactions and commenting functions that are already a major part of the app, and a mobile version is a natural fit. You can leave those comments directly on a slide in Paste and have them pop up in a Slack room, as well as assign team members from Slack to work on specific slides.
I’ve been able to try out the mobile versions of Paste, and while the iPhone version is probably still best-suited for just viewing slides and leaving feedback for other team members, the iPad version — thanks to iOS 11’s drag-and-drop features — is just as good as the desktop app.
Paste is free to try for a limited time, and costs $8 per month per user, so it’s still likely going to remain an enterprise-focused service for now. And while Paste does look very nice, if you’re team isn’t running everything in Slack, it’s somewhat harder to justify the cost for what is ultimately a very minimalist version of Google Slides.
It would also be nice to see an Android version of Paste somewhere in the future, too. FiftyThree is primarily an iOS developer, but unless you’re working at Apple (in which case, you’re probably using Keynote anyway), chances are you’ve got some Android users on your team that might want access to slide decks, too.
Along with Paste making its way to iOS, FiftyThree is also releasing a massive overhaul of the original Paper app. The new Paper 4 has been completely rebuilt using Apple’s SceneKit framework for better performance, and a new design that harkens back to the original version of the application, but with a optional grid view that makes it easier to see your individual notebooks at a glance.
FiftyThree is also changing the monetization scheme for Paper: the app is free to download, but some features are only available with an optional $5.99 / six months Paper Pro subscription.
The redesigned Paper is also meant to work hand in hand with Paste, allowing for easy sharing of Paper sketches straight into a Paste slideshow, and on iPads running iOS 11, you can even drag and drop sketches straight from a notebook.