Skip to content

The Smithsonian Institute acquires an iPad app for its art collection and distributes it as free software

The VergeEn Apple
When my partner Fernando Doutel told us about Planetary two years ago we all agreed that it was one of the most spectacular and beautiful music players we had ever seen. What we didn’t know was that the Smithsonian Institution would eventually purchase this exclusive iPad app from its creators to add to their art collection.

This is the first time that something like this has happened, that a museum has acquired a piece of code to preserve it and share it, something that the Smithsonian hopes will change the way other institutions view software. The museum has worked together with the creators of Planetary to offer its code to everyone in the hope that it will become more than “an installation of software and hardware frozen in a moment of time” .

The Smithsonian Institute acquires an iPad app for its art collection and distributes it as free software
The Smithsonian Institute acquires an iPad app for its art collection and distributes it as free software

Planetary was launched in 2011 as a tremendously original way to explore our music library on the iPad by navigating through a dynamically created 3D universe representing the artists as stars, their albums as planets and the songs as moons orbiting around them at a speed defined by their duration.

Among the museum’s plans for the app is the creation of an alternative version that will allow visitors to explore its 217,000 artifacts, but for now the idea is that the community will try to bring it to life with its own modifications.

Via