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Designed for each device at its best

Each platform you use for work cues unique moods and ways of working. Your phone, Mac, and iPad each have their place, as does the web. We designed Muse to be more than a single app, but a suite of tools optimized for different modes of deep work across your devices. Your content syncs instantly across all your devices via our local-first syncing technology.

Muse for iPad: relaxed thinking, annotating, and brainstorming

iPad is a magical device, but too many of us buy one hoping to use it for creative work and instead find using it only for Netflix on the sofa. Muse for iPad offers a human and creative working style by embracing what makes iPad special: the intimacy of the touchscreen, the immediacy of the high-performance display, and the fun of working with your hands.

Use both hands with natural gestures

Too many iPad apps inherit the restriction of phone apps: using only one finger to interact. Muse lets you use all ten fingers with fluid, natural gestures, like pinch to zoom and quasimodes to activate more Pencil tools. Use both hands to grab and drag cards to experiment easily with different arrangements. (→ iPad Handbook)

Sift, sort, and cull

When remixing ideas, it helps to be able to quickly sort, sift, and throw out irrelevant items. A fluid gesture lets you throw any card away quickly. (But don’t worry—accidental deletions can be handled with undo or the delete card history.)

Ink anywhere with your Apple Pencil

Sketching in Muse isn‘t restricted to a dedicated space. Ink on top of, next to, or between things. Type a sentence, then scribble a note over it. Paste a link, then move it into a sketch you made. It’s fluid and informal, just like the early stages of your thinking. (→ Text and ink)

Minimalist yet customizable toolkit

Swipe in from the edge of the screen with your Pencil to open the low-profile toolkit. Drawing inspiration from analog tools like whiteboard markers and technical pens, select the set of ink colors and weights you need for the day. Plus an eraser, a selection tool, and handwriting recognition with Scribble.

No toolbars, no distractions

To truly think, you have to disconnect just a little bit. That means turning off notifications, not looking at the clock, not worrying about anything but the work right in front of you. Muse for iPad has no onscreen toolbars by default — it’s just you and your work.

Great ideas happen away from your desk

The focused posture of sitting upright at a desk in front of a computer keyboard is ideal for production work — but not for thinking. The tablet form factor is unique in that you can take it to recline in your reading chair, scribble notes in a coffee shop, or pace around the room holding the device. With a tool designed for these environments, you can push your ideas further while working in a more relaxed way.


Muse for Mac: productivity, heavy research, bulk editing

Mac is where creative work gets done. It’s the best platform ever created for creative and productive tasks, encapsulating 30+ years of thinking. Muse for Mac is designed from the same principles as Muse for iPad, while taking advantage of more screen real estate, the keyboard, files, and overlapping windows.

Side-by-side production

Reference your ideas in Muse alongside your production tools for content and inspiration while you work. Drag-and-drop images, text and sketches into web and native apps like Google Docs, Keynote, Sketch, and Notion. (→ Workflows)

Selections for bulk editing

Drag to select cards and ink. Duplicate, move, delete — move with speed and precision in the desktop app.

Bigger screen, more space

Connect to an external display for a truly epic amount of space to review your work or show it to your team.

Keyboard shortcuts for power and speed

Copy, delete, duplicate, export, move to inbox — anything you can think of, it’s just a keypress away.


Muse for iPhone: Quick capture on the go

Ideas can come to you anywhere and everywhere. Taking a walk, chatting with a colleague over coffee, waiting for the bus, browsing a social media feed to kill time. Muse for iPhone lets you quickly capture a snippet of text, an image, or a link — then gets out of your way so you can return to being present in the moment.

Muse browser extension: Save URLs and more Beta

While you can copy-paste from your browser to Muse, the browser extension makes it even easier and faster to bring snippets from your deep research sessions into Muse.


Our thinking behind multi-device and sync

Designing for each device

Creative professionals have a computing life that spans multiple devices, each with its own purpose. The phone is great for quick capture on the go, but isn’t a place to sit down and work out a complex spreadsheet. A workstation with a mouse and keyboard is great for heavy authoring tasks, but doesn’t offer good ergonomics for lengthy reading. And tablets are ideal for sitting back in your armchair to read and reflect.

Platform Purpose
Phone quick capture and lookup
Tablet annotating, sketching, brainstorming, sense-making
Desktop heavy research, authoring, editing, bulk organizing
Web sharing

While many apps are available on multiple platforms, too often they were designed primarily for one device (say, a mobile phone) and offer only an awkward transliteration of their functionality to another place (say, the web on a desktop computer).

Here are some examples of the design choices we made for Muse on each platform.

iPad

  • instantly respond to finger sliding across the glass
  • sophisticated gestures like pull in new boards and throw out old ones
  • fewer conventions here so we need to invent a bunch
  • an interface with no toolbars to keep things distraction-free

Mac

  • multi-select for bulk edits
  • more screen real estate
  • filesystem integration

Phone

  • capture as quickly as possible so that you can record a note in the middle of conversation without being taken out of the moment

Why native apps

Muse for iPad and Mac are lovingly built as native apps. This means they run lighting fast and keep a copy of all your work locally. Though we love the web for many reasons, web technology cannot currently offer the fast, fluid, hardware-integrated experience that Muse wants to deliver to you.

Native also gives the benefit of greater system integration. Drag-and-drop, for example, is a crucial interaction for Muse where you’re often clipping content from other apps into a board, or taking finished boards and pulling out content into your authoring tool. Electron apps, for example, often struggle to offer reasonable drag-and-drop functionality.

And lastly it’s not just about technology: it’s about how the app feels, and whether it is a good citizen of the platform. On Mac, for example, there are many standards for menus, toolbars, window titles, and more. Wherever possible we strive to make sure Muse feels completely at home on the platform it’s running on.

Further reading

Local-first sync

It’s not enough to have Muse running on each of your devices; but also you need to access your work seamlessly across them. That implies sync.

A traditional cloud solution would be antithetical to our values of fast, intimate, and in your control. Hence we need sync that preserves the autonomy of your individual devices and gives you ownership of your data, while still connecting them together effortlessly.

Conveniently and not coincidentally, two of the Muse partners are coauthors of the essay Local-first software: You own your data, in spite of the cloud. This widely-cited academic paper summarizes a decade of work on a technology that has the promise to give users the benefits of the cloud (device syncing and multi-user collaboration) while also keeping data local for speed, offline capability, and greater agency over your work.

Further reading

A medium for thought

We want Muse to be not just an app for one platform, but a tool for thinking that is available everywhere that is a part of your thinking process. And to connect it all together such that you can switch between them seamlessly.

Given this vision, perhaps tool is not even the right term. As Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen (quoting Alan Kay) write:

What’s more, the term “tool” implies a certain narrowness. […] A medium creates a powerful immersive context, a context in which the user can have new kinds of thought, thoughts that were formerly impossible for them. Speaking loosely, the range of expressive thoughts possible in such a medium is an emergent property of the elementary objects and actions in that medium. If those are well chosen, the medium expands the possible range of human thought.

We believe that a Muse which spans all your devices has the potential to be this type of immersive context. And thereby to expand the breadth and depth of your creativity, your problem-solving ability, and your ideas.

Read next Workflows →