In what must be related to an internal policy decision on behalf of Apple, yesterday saw the release of five separate applications (Compose, TouchType, Sideways, Lettera, and Wide Email) that allow you to compose emails in landscape mode.
Each application boasts the ability to type out email text using the much more user friendly (especially for those of us with meaty fingers) landscape iPhone keyboard, which should dramatically decrease the need for rewrites. The apps are not themselves email clients, more like notepads with the ability to export to the iPhone’s native mail application.
While some of the applications offer different spins on the landscape typing trick (including faux-vintage typewriter styling and the ability to send as .PDF in Lettera), all these ponies are essentially giving the same show. Why the sudden flood? A batch release of apps with similar functionality like this points towards a bottleneck in Apple’s approval process, possibly caused by an internal decision on what exactly exactly constitutes “duplicat[ing] the functionality” of Apple’s own software.
With issues like cut-and-paste on the iPhone, Apple has seemed to favor an “Either we do it or no one can” type of attitude when it comes to developers seeking to to fill perceived gaps in functionality. The inability to compose emails or text messages in landscape mode has been yet another such disappointment among iPhone owners, along with things like the lack of MMS messaging and A2DP Bluetooth support.
The release of these applications is at least a step in the right direction, and provides hope that there are perhaps elegant and functional third party MMS apps just waiting for Apple decision makers to admit they can’t do it all themselves. And please legitimize Podcaster. Seriously.