Two articles from well-respected writers were published recently that focus on the creation of text on an iPad. The idea that the iPad is a consumption machine first, production machine second has surrounded the device since its launch. The reasons for such a positioning of the device are obvious: it’s cheaper than most computers, the screen is smaller than most computers, and there is no keyboard or trackpad, which makes accurate input of content difficult.
Jason Snell, the “senior vice president and editorial director at IDG Consumer” (which basically means he’s the man behind MacWorld and TechHive) wrote an article title “Why I’m writing on the iPad.” From the beginning, it’s obvious that Snell is a fan of the iPad. He believes the advantages of using the iPad as opposed to a traditional Mac are in the fact that the iPad removes distraction, and that it is so portable:
On the iPad, I am more focused—and when I do finally take a break to check my email, it feels like an actual break, not a distraction.
I can’t argue with the results. Pieces I’ve been promising myself to write for weeks remain empty text files in my MacBook’s Dropbox folder, while 800-word essays sprout from my iPad in no time.
I have personally tried this method, though I didn’t find it acceptable. Part of the issue was that the app was built for short notes, and not long-form writing. It seems that the app does play a big part.
On the other side of this is an article by Frederico Viticci on the ways that the iOS keyboard is inadequate for long text input. He argues – and rightly so, I believe – that the issue with iOS isn’t in its keyboard, but in the fact that it has an incredibly clunky and slow way to select and edit text.
I think the discussion on the iOS keyboard often mixes writing with editing. Personally, I believe the iOS keyboard is great for writing, because it’s just a normal keyboard, but iOS text selection is in serious need of an update, because it feels outdated. I’m not sure the average user cares about better text selection, but for the sake of the argument, I will say that a better solution should be explored.