iOS 5.1, the long beta tested follow-up to 5.0, is rumored to be launching in early March alongside the next version of the iPad. According to iPhoneHellas, a Greek Apple blog, notes is going to ship with rich text editing for the first time.
We thought this was a rumor worth discussing, so we asked Gus Mueller of Flying Meat Software a few questions about Apple making rich text editing a feature of iOS. Not only does Gus make the popular image editor Acorn, but he is also well known for making the best damn note taking / wiki app on OS X and iOS called VoodooPad. If anyone is negatively affected by Apple’s lack of rich text editing, it would be Gus.
Grant Brünner: How long have you been told that rich text editing is “Right around the corner”?
Gus Mueller: I’ve never been told “right around the corner”, but there have been assurances for a couple of years it was coming.
GB: Do you think that the lack of rich text editing in iOS has hurt sales and reviews for VoodooPad?
GM: Yeah, for sure. People expect an iOS counterpart to a desktop version to behave in the same way.
GB: Do all of the features of rich text editing in something like VoodooPad for OS X need to be implemented in iOS?
GM: No, not all of them- I could care less about [tables] and lists. But things like font size, bold, italic, and supporting images would be a great start.
GB: Do you believe Apple would implement rich text editing in their own apps first, and not bother to make a public API available to devs until later?
GM: That’s typically how they do things, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all. If you look at the history of APIs, Apple generally implements them and tries them out in their apps (known as dog-fooding), refines it, and then when they think it’s suitable they’ll make it public. AddressBook on OS X is a great example. CoreText is another great example.
GB: Any other thoughts on rich text editing on iOS?
GM: It’s great that other devs are making their own implementations, but the problem is that each one behaves a little differently from each other and each one will have their own set of bugs. And think of all the time that developers have been spending trying to implement such an expected feature! Apple should have done it years ago, so everyone wouldn’t have been spinning their wheels.
Thanks so much to Gus for taking the time to answer these questions. Clearly, this is a feature some devs are clamoring for. It’s surprising that it has taken this long, frankly. What do you think? Is rich text editing coming soon, and will it allow devs to make a better experience? Sound off in the comment section below this post. We want to hear from you.