iPhone 3.0 + Tumblr: almost, but not quite
Say it with me: Cut and Paste is the most versatile feature to come to the iPhone. Ever. Yes, it took forever to arrive, but now it’s here dammit, and it’s time to make some good use of it.
Since the release of iPhone OS 3.0 and my subsequent purchase of a 3GS (Yes, I’m a sucker for new gear, so sue me), I have been spending a lot of my downtime exploring what the new OS update can offer in terms of everyday tasks. Wouldn’t you know it, updating this here blog is indeed one of those tasks, one that’s now become somewhat viable thanks to the ability to quickly swap data between apps like Safari and Tumblr.
But therein lies the problem: the addition of nice things like Cut and Paste and the semi-ubiquitous landscape keyboard has highlighted some considerable shortcomings in Tumblr’s own iPhone offering. Specifically:
Lack of a landscape keyboard
Typing a post in portrait now feels all the more painful knowing the alternative should be just a tilt away.
Lack of a persistent state
Take this use case as an example: you want to paste a quote from a web page into an email as well as the link of the page it’s from. So you go into Mail, start a new email, then go into Safari, cut some text out of a web page, go back into Mail, and paste it. Repeat for the link.
You’ll notice that this is no big deal, given that both Mail and Safari maintain their states when you close them. So why, pray Tell, does Tumblr not do the same? If I have a new post open when I close the app I want to see that same post when I get back into it, and no, a blue dot in the main view next to the post’s category is not as good.
Lack of video support
OK fine, this is a 3GS only feature, but it would be great to be able to upload my newly filmed clip onto a suitable hosting service and embed it into a new post, all in one click, and within the Tumblr app.
Inability to directly edit already published posts
This is not a 3.0 specific gripe, but it surprised me as I started making more use of the Tumblr application. While the app does a relatively decent job of presenting an interface to create new posts, it does nothing to offer the ability to edit a post that’s already been published. Opening the Tumblr Dashboard from the Sites icon and editing the post in there leads to some page formatting issues, so much so that it’s just easier to go do the whole thing in Safari. It would be nice if the same custom interface used to create and tag new posts were available to edit what’s already on your Tumblr blog.
In summary, since the arrival of 3.0 the iPhone now has all of the key components of a blogging platform, but no real interface to take advantage of them. I really hope the Tumblr devs are listening and preparing a revision of their app to take advantage of the newly available functionality. Only then will we see a surge in the kind of spontaneous, fresh content that the Tumblr platform as a whole is so well suited for.