When iOS 4 landed on the iPhone and iPod touch, a lot of people expected there to be this explosion of multitasking applications that would enable us to do things like automatically copy information to our Pastebot clipboard. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. Private APIs are still a sorry subject for developers in Apple’s community, so the folks at Tapbots had to get creative. “How do we avoid touching Apple’s Private APIs?” It’s all done through the sound of music. Or the lack thereof.
By playing a continuous silent audio clip, the folks at Tapbots came up with an ingenious solution; no longer would you have to open Pastebot each time just to copy text or images. Everything you interact with in Safari, Twitterrific, or Discover is instantly copied to the Pastebot clipboard.
The idea is to have a silent audio clip play in the background. This would use one of Apple’s backgrounding APIs that allows music to play in the background. Turns out it works flawlessly. You can finally copy from your Mac or on your iPhone without having to open Pastebot after each copy. When you copy from another app, the signature Tapbots copy sound plays to inform you that Pastebot received it. We added options for timing out after inactivity (to preserve battery life even though it doesn’t use much in the first place) as well the option to turn it off completely. It’s a very elegant solution and behaves flawlessly.
When Pastebot’s initial submission to Apple was rejected, Tapbots was given two choices: let the user choose their audio clip, or remove the silent audio clip. Though it’s not the most favorable solution, Tapbots of course opted for choice number one. The user gets the choice to upload their own silent media, and Tapbots will hopefully get their app approved in no time.
The entire story behind Pastebot’s creation, submission, rejection, and final solution is a must read for a must have iOS utility. You can read Tapbot’s latest community update via their latest blog entry.