Today I’m excited to announce Phonogram, a new augmented reality app for iOS that lets you create and share short audio messages paired with unique AR effects. The app is available for free in the App Store:
Phonogram lets you quickly record an audio message, select and customize an augmented reality effect for it, and then send it off to a friend or family member. The unique AR effects change in response to the audio.
The idea for Phonogram grew out of my AR music visualizer app Beatsy. While I love creating AR effects for music, even I don’t use a music visualizer all that often. With Phonogram, I wanted to try getting out these AR effects to a wider audience.
I built Phonogram around a few core ideas:
Voice. Phonogram is for sharing audio, specifically voice. Voice has an innate intimacy that text lacks. I’ve also experienced the power of voice firsthand, be it in Podcast, apps like Clubhouse, or even in dating apps that let you record voice notes to stand out to potential partners. You can also quickly fire off a voice recording without taking yourself out of the moment to poke around at a keyboard. (Voice also is a great fit for devices where typing isn’t as natural, hint hint…)
Immersive Sharing. When you share a Phonogram, you share the AR effect, not images or videos of the effects. To play back a recording, you place the AR effect in the world. You can think of the AR effect as being almost like a fancy little virtual speaker. Again brining recordings into your personal space makes them feel more intimate and unique.
Not a social network. Phonogram doesn’t include a feed, stories, or like counts. Instead the focus is personal communication. I largely wanted to leave it up to you how you use Phonogram. Send personal birthday notes or holiday greetings. Fire off sweet little nothings to a lover throughout the day. Share a snippet of a new song you’ve been working on. Or just have fun.
Phonogram also aims to integrate into your existing apps instead of being a platform. The best way to send and listen to Phonograms is using iMessage. To play back a Phonogram, you don’t even need to install the app thanks to App Clips. Or you can always share a url to the recording. Again, all you need to play them back is an iOS device.
While these design decisions may not be the most fashionable, with Phonogram I wanted to build an app that I would actually want to use and would also be a great foundation for future AR experiments.
You can get Phonogram in the App Store. It runs on iPhones and iPads. If you enjoy Phonogram, the best way to support it is buy leaving a positive review to help others discover it too.