textexpander on the iphone!

August 26, 2009 | 1 Comment

It’s been a long time coming. In my case, it’s been 653 days…

I don’t want to take all the credit for this happening (a significant portion will do), but TextExpander Touch has arrived! If you’re not familiar with TextExpander, see this post. Go on…we’ll wait.

I installed TextExpander Touch last night and started putting it through the paces. It feels like TextExpander on my Mac and includes the ability to sync all of your snippets from your Mac. (This didn’t work for me at first, but I was successful after rebooting my computer.) And a small but important feature — TextExpander Touch includes the satisfying ‘bubble’ sound when text expands.

There is one important difference between TextExpander and TextExpander Touch. Because the iPhone won’t let TextExpander run in the background, your snippets won’t work in any app except for TextExpander. (Not yet anyway…read on!) If you are typing in Mail, you won’t be able to type “ssig” and have your signature pop in. That would be nice, of course, but it’s not possible with the limits that Apple has set for third party app developers.

Knowing that limitation, TextExpander Touch is a good implementation of what is possible. The app is divided into two screens: Compose and Groups. The Compose Screen is a blank, but magic, screen to compose and edit text. Any snippets typed will expand. The text can then be copied to paste in another app. But you can also tap a send icon at the bottom which will copy your text, launch another app, and drop it in there. It can either launch a compose email screen, or your Twitter app; it supports Tweetie, Twitterific, and Twittelator Pro according to SmileOnMyMac.

The Groups screen allows you to browse and edit your snippets, or create new ones. But there is one other thoughtful implementation here. You can tap an icon next to each snippet, which presents you with the option to send that snippet, expanded of course, to a new email, the clipboard, or your Twitter app. A small feature, but one that will save a lot of tapping.

I think the most exciting feature is one that has yet to play out. SmileOnMyMac is making the TextExpander engine available to other developers. So, while TextExpander might not work in Tweetie for iPhone, Tweetie could release a new version with TextExpander built in. (Ahem, hint, hint.)

TextExpander is now available in the app store (iTunes link) for an introductory price of $1.99 through September 9. After that, the price will go up to $4.99. By the way, if you haven’t yet purchased TextExpander, it is currently on sale for $14.98, which is half price.

I’m already thinking about the new snippets I’ll create to take advantage of TextExpander Touch. If you have ideas on how to use it too, please leave a comment and share them with the rest of us.