I started with a simple task: writing and posting to a blog using the iPad. We use WordPress at blog.laptopmag.com, so I downloaded the official WordPress app and signed in. Like most users with a self-hosted WordPress installed, we’ve added plug-ins for extra functionality. I discovered that I couldn’t access such features as PollDaddy and AutoLinker from within the app, so I signed into the blog via Safari instead. Here I could enter data into the extra fields on our Create Post page. However, I only had access to the basic HTML editor, not the rich text editor.
I also discovered that the WYSIWYG engine runs on Flash. Though this wasn’t a huge problem, the iPad’s lack of Flash support became an issue when I discovered that I couldn’t upload any images. In order to add a photo to a post, I had to save my draft, open it in the app, add the image, save again, and then go back to the browser and place the image where I wanted it. The dedicated WordPress app wouldn’t let me place images, informing me that it would put them at the bottom of my post when I published.
Back in the browser, I discovered that when I’d saved the draft in the WordPress app, it erased all of the quotation marks, apostrophes, and carets from my entire post. Plus, the app duplicated all of the text in the post between the last paragraph and the one above it. After cleaning all this up, I discovered one last thing I couldn’t do in the browser: scroll through my long list of product categories. I had to go back to the app for that. Total time to post from beginning to end: 1.5 hours. Terrible.
The iPad comes with a handy Notes app for creating short memos. However, if you want to export the text, you have one choice from within the app: e-mail as text. So I went in search of something more robust.
First, I downloaded Evernote (free), which helpfully syncs notes to the cloud and to other devices, making it easy to move between different environments. Evernote’s capabilities are still somewhat basic, especially compared to the desktop version. I wanted something with support for both typed and handwritten notes.
Note Taker HD ($4.99) is a much more robust app that supports typed and handwritten notes, highlighting and drawing, PDF import, plus Evernote and PDF export. It also works with AirPrint. Using this app in combination with a Pogo Sketch stylus ($14.95) and the Zaggmate keyboard ($99.99) made me feel a lot more productive.