Talk about timing! Just yesterday, Mike Rose and I were talking about blogging tools on TUAW TV Live and had a discussion about the WordPress iOS app. Today, the WordPress team shipped an update to the iOS app that changes the user interface and adds features that should help power users with multiple WP sites get more work done while mobile.
Version 3.1 of the free WordPress app brings a new look to the universal application. There's a sidebar for quickly navigating through your site, and on the iPad, sliding panels make navigation a piece of cake. The app can now be used in landscape mode, which makes me quite happy as that's the way I prefer to type on the iPhone and iPad. There are allegedly "updated colors and graphics", but if so, they are almost invisible changes.
The iPad has gained the WordPress.com blog reader and the ability to quick-add photos. Rather than needing to "write" a blank post and add an image to it, you can just snap a photo, give it a title and add it immediately to your blog as a photo entry. That's perfect vacation blogs where you want to add a photo and not write a book for every entry.
One more iPad feature is the "Friend Finder." If any of your friends are blogging on the free WordPress.com hosting system, you can follow their sites through the app. To search, you give the app temporary access to your Address Book, Twitter, Facebook or any email addresses matching a site on WordPress.com, you can add it to your "watch list". I guess nobody I know has a WordPress.com site, as it searched 672 names and returned no hits.
Creating a new WordPress.com blog on the fly is a lot easier, with a button in the "Add a Blog" window opening a short form that you can use to set up your "Fishing for Flies" blog in seconds.
I'm not sure that I'm overwhelmed with the way the dashboard was implemented. On both devices, it's essentially a window into the browser-based dashboard. A native iOS implementation with big, easily-tapped buttons would be more user-friendly.
Performance seems to have improved as well. I found previous versions almost painfully slow, while 3.1 seems to update a lot faster. However, the app crashed on several occasions on the iPad and iPhone.
If any TUAW readers are WordPress fans and have installed the WordPress 3.1 app update, I'd love to hear your opinion in the comments.