I never thought the day would come, but it has: Ulysses is on your iPhone. Go buy it.
I’m not going to give a full review here. David Chartier at Macstories and Ben Brooks have you covered there. But let me offer a few thoughts on this huge release. I’ve had a beta for a few weeks and I absolutely love it.
Ulysses Mobile, as the app formerly known as Ulysses for iPad is now called, has been teased for at least five years. I can’t find it now, but I’m quite positive that The Soulmen posted a few videos of semantic markup in action on an iPhone back in 2010 or 2009. Their grand plan in those days was to bring Ulysses 2 to the iPhone. In fact, if you look back at their old homepage, they used to have a placeholder graphic for Ulysses Mobile, which was perpetually “on hold.”
In 2011, with the release of Daedalus Touch for the iPad, the plans for Ulysses changed radically. By 2013 they shipped a ground up rewrite of Ulysses on the Mac, which was influenced by what they had learned from Daedalus. And now the circle is complete, by which I mean feature complete.
Ulysses is now the same on your Mac, your iPhone and your iPad. This. Is. Huge.
No matter what device I’m on, no matter what I’m writing: I know where to put it. Better yet, I know where to find my writing. It’s in Ulysses.
Okay some stuff actually still goes into Vesper, despite my better judgement. But most things will go into Ulysses from here on out. Or that’s the plan.
A few bullet points:
- The extended keyboard is the best designed iOS keyboard I’ve ever seen. It’s minimal but incredibly powerful, and wisely hides its power in palettes for selecting if you’d like to, say, make a heading or a link. This works so much better than scrolling along an extra row of keys.
- I cannot emphasize enough that this is Ulysses on your iPhone. You get all the themes, all the features, all the documents that you have on your Mac. Save for a few minor items, it’s the same app. What you can do in one, you can do in the other.
- You can still load custom fonts into Ulysses, just as you have been able to do for years in Daedalus. But I actually prefer using the System Font, which is Apple’s San Francisco. I’ve loaded Pitch and Courier Prime into Ulysses Mobile. If anyone wants to gift me Operator Mono I bet it looks great in there too. ;)
- The app also has an amazing extension, allowing you to send links, text and other goodies in to Ulysses without even launching it. You can even send an image into it. While you can’t append to a document (as Apple’s own notes allows), you can choose which folder your document will go into.
- Yes, Ulysses has been on iPad for awhile now, but my iPad 2 is so long in the tooth that I rarely use it for much of anything. At this point, my iPhone is basically the computer I use the most, which is why this is such an exciting release for me.
I made a quick little workflow for iOS, so if you have Workflow installed, you can enjoy it. I call it Ulysses Draft, and all it does is launch Ulysses and make a new blank document. You can install it and add it to your home screen.
While it’s not so hard to launch a new document in Ulysses, you do still need to launch it and create a new document: two taps. This workflow mimics launching something like Drafts. One tap and go.
If you use something other than Workflow to launch app URLs, here’s the simple URL that makes this work:
Ulysses Mobile is $19.99 for a limited time. The price will go up to $24.99 in the near future. Ulysses for Mac is $44.99 and worth every penny. I should mention the Mac app got a shiny new update today too. Go get them and get back to writing.