There’s a nice chart of all the fonts in iOS that has been making the link rounds today. It made me realize that one of the more frustrating facets of iOS is font handling. Simply put you are stuck with the fonts Apple choses for you. Now honestly on the iPhone this isn’t that big a deal. However for an iPad where you might be doing far more it quickly becomes frustrating.
For instance I love Inconsolata for my fixed width editing. However on iOS I’m limited to Courier or Courier New PSMT. Not exactly nice viewing. Individual applications can add other fonts. So my ssh program on the iPhone allows a couple of other fonts. There’s simply no way for me to select the font I like though. And honestly for terminal use having a good font is crucial.
It’s not just limited to us terminal geeks though. The iPad is supposed to allow light word processing. However there are several significant fonts missing there. So there is no Garamond, for instance. (My personal favorite font) No Lucinda Grande. No Gill Sans on the iPhone. (Although inexplicably it is available on the iPad) No Copperplate.
I’m not a big font geek. (Although I really love Garamond for some reason) But it sure would be nice to actually be able to open things like newsletters on an iPad and see what they look like. (This is yet an other reason I think the iPad is not yet ready for prime time despite its popularity)
Hopefully font handling is something Apple adds to iOS 5. Although Apple’s choices with iOS have been focused on simplicity. The problem is that as its power increases so too will its complexity. The worry I have is that if Apple pushes iOS to replace OSX you run into the problem they faced with the original Mac. You haven’t planned ahead sufficiently for that complexity and what results is less than idea. Here’s hoping Apple has thought through the issue of fonts on iOS.