Jot is an iOS text editor that adds a red trackball nubbin to the iPhone keyboard. No kidding – it’s just like a ThinkPad, only in software not hardware. And it also looks like a fantastic way to solve the frustrations of iPhone text selection.
The red dot does a few things. It acts as a little virtual trackball for moving the cursor up and down left and right through your text, and it also replaces the annoyingly vague tap-to-select function of iOS. Instead of tapping on the words themselves to try and select them, you just use the nubbin to place the cursor in the word and then double to triple-tap the red dot to make your selections.
It’s way better than Apple’s own implementation, although we’ll never see anything like it baked in to iOS. Apple insists on using a direct-manipulation metaphor in iOS, so you have to actually touch the text you’re trying to manipulate. The contradiction is obvious though – a keyboard is hardly direct manipulation, and the metaphor falls down right away because there’s a cursor up in the text field.
Anyway, the Jot app costs $3, which is cool, and worth it for that keyboard. But buying an app just for the keyboard is like buying an actual keyboard and finding out you can only use it to type in Text Edit in the Mac and not in Pages or Byword. In other words, somewhat pointless.