A New iPad Writing Update - Chris Ullrich dot net

A New iPad Writing Update


As previously mentioned, I’ve been trying to write with the iPad as much as possible instead of using the MacBook Air or any other OS X-powered Mac. After a couple weeks of doing this, I’ve got some thoughts to share.

First, and this should not come as a surprise, I love almost everything about the iPad as a device. It’s extremely portable and has amazing battery life, even when used for several hours of work and pretty much continuous syncing of Dropbox via Verizon’s 4G LTE. I can only imagine the portability and battery life are going to get better and better as we see newer versions of the iPad.

As a device used for content consumption, the iPad also excels. If you want to watch a movie or TV program via Netflix or iTunes, the iPad is your best choice. The screen is excellent and the afformetioned battery life can get you though several programs during a long plane ride to Hawaii, or wherever you’re going. It also features an impressive collection of apps devoted to bringing you content.

On that note, the iPad is excellent for reading books via the Kindle or iBooks app or comics using an app like Comixology. I also enjoy checking out news, Twitter, Facebook and my Instagram feed using an app like Flipboard. These kinds of content consumption, and the quality experience they provide, are all pretty much a given.

But is the iPad also a good tool for someone like myself who wants to create content with it, and more specifically, the written word? Yes and no.

If, like me, you’re using the iPad with a particular app like Final Draft Writer, it works pretty well. The Final Draft Writer app is designed to work with the iPad’s screen layout and onscreen keyboard. It also syncs nicely with Dropbox.

It’s obvious the designers or the Final Draft Writer app for iPad took the time to test their app and have listened to feedback from users, particularly screenwriters. That research shows in a well designed and implemented piece of software. (Disclaimer: I was a Beta Tester for the Final Draft Writer app for iPad).

Where the iPad falls short is when I’ve tried to use it to update one or more of my WordPress-powered sites using the Safari or Chrome browser, as I normally do when using the MacBook Air and Mac OS X. At that point, the process often becomes a more difficult and frustrating one, especially when manipulating and selecting text and using links.

Manipulating text and links isn’t the only issue when using Safari or Chrome. I also have some difficulty writing on the iPad when said writing involves adding pictures or videos to posts and articles, as it often does. Maybe it’s just me (and my abnormally large hands) but the process of cutting and pasting text and/or embed codes is somewhat of a chore. So is finding and manipulating images, especially resizing them, and getting them into a post.

When using Mac OS X, I simply download an image to the desktop (one obtained legally, of course) open it in my favorite image editor, do what I need to do with it, save it and then upload and insert it into an article, post or whatever.

Cutting, pasting and uploading content using the MacBook Air’s keyboard, trackpad and desktop is quite simple. The iPad has no trackpad, no real keyboard unless you add one, and no desktop to speak of. That makes it less simple.

I also need to go back and forth between several apps to accomplish these simple tasks. Of course, this also reminds me also that the iPad has no real multitasking capabilities. As in, you can’t easily go between open apps like you can in OS X. That tends to slow me down too.

Fortunately, I’ve also been using the WordPress app for iOS and that has made writing articles and posts for my various sites much easier, at least where the actual writing of words is concerned. In fact, I used the WordPress app to write this very article.

Maybe the weakness actually lies in my choice of workflow and not as much with the iPad? It’s possible and I will continue to explore this. Although, I don’t thin it’s all me.

Of course, some will think I’m nitpicking and say the iPad is not a computer or a computer replacement and isn’t designed to be. I realize that, of course, I just would like it to be more computer-like. That would be helpful to me.

I’m sure in some future verison of the iPad, the melding of iOS and Mac OS X will be complete and seamlesss and all will be well. Until then, it’s still kind of a pain to do some of my work exclusively on the iPad.

I’ll continue trying and perhaps will find new and better workflow options. There’s always a new app coming out and new iPad hardware options on the horizon. That’s one of the things that makes technology so interesting to me.

There’s always something new and exciting to play with.

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  • Kelly Guimont
    January 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Have you tried Blogsy? It’s at blogsyapp dot com and so far it’s been the most viable option for me.

    • Chris
      January 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      I tried an earlier version. Will check it out again. Thanks for the tip!