A couple of iOS apps I have been using lately that have lived up to or exceeded my usability expectations:

Chunky, a straightforward, calibre-compatible comic reader for iPad. Free. Significantly superior to the now-Amazon shackled, and therefore calibre-resistant, Comixology.

Marvin, the first iOS reader to acheive feature parity with the late, lamented eReader for PalmOS. The first! It’s a goddamn outrage. Neither Kindle for iOS nor Apple’s iBooks offer customizable color schemes for dark-background nighttime reading, nor do they offer autoscroll. eReader on even very old Palm devices which utilized an LCD screen offered a night-vision compatible, gesture-adjustable (both brightness and speed) autoscroll experience.

I’ve recently installed the iOS WordPress app, and it’s lacking  quite badly, specifically with regard to on-screen type render speed – even in very short posts, I find my typing running several words ahead of the cursor display. So to an extent I am on the hunt for an iOS word processor, although that quest is not front and center.

The other huge usability annoyance I have been fighting lately is iOS itself. I’m running 9.3.5 on an iPad 3, and that appears to be the final release on this hardware. WordPress’ difficulty with type seems to be associated with this operating system’s generally aggravating type rendering performance, something I note as well in the context of text-entry boxes on contemporary web sites and inside some apps. The biggest annoyance, however, has been Apple’s continuous and pointless manipulation of both text-selection contextual popups, autocheck for spelling, and the partial and unreliable abandonment of the initial conventions for cut-and-paste.

Previously, cut and paste functions were accessed via the always-mysterious action button (the little box with the upward-pointing arrow) and within the white-text-on-black popup associated with text selection. Now, in some contexts, a row of very un-iOS icons can appear above the keyboard when text has been selected and is available for a cut and paste operation – an arrow, a pair of little boxes, and another pair of little boxes. The icons are intended to represent cut, copy, and paste, in that order. Yet the dual dual boxes fail this communcation duty utterly. I can only determine their intended meaning because I have internalized a conventional order to the operations – cut, copy, and paste. The second pair of boxes would be better replaced with a System 7 style image of a paste brush, and why isn’t the copy icon here the iOS copy icon? The paste icon in this little row of inscrutable heiroglyphs actually looks more like the overall system icon for copy than this one. Absurd. Steve hates you, Apple iOS UI directorate.

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