iA Writer – Gorgeous New Writing App for the iPad

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WhyWeBuiltIt

A beautiful new iPad app from Oliver Reichenstein and Information Architects and designed with the sole purpose of being a top-notch writing environment …

That’s how Shawn Blanc summed up the new iA Writer app for the iPad in his recent post on it which led me to try the app.

I installed iA Writer last night and I’m already very glad I did. It really is a superb app for writing.


iAWriterIcon

Here’s some detail on the app, via its App Store page:

WHY WE BUILT IT

The key to good writing is not that magical glass of Bordeaux, the right kind of tobacco or that groovy background music. The key is focus.

Writer has no graphic settings or formatting features. It avoids all distracting glitz in the user interface and puts all the beauty in the shape of the text. It uses an interactive logic that helps you concentrate, find your orientation and express yourself. With Writer all your thought goes into what you write, not how your writing looks.

HOW IT WORKS

1. FOCUS MODE creates a noise free writing space. No auto-correction, spelling errors, toolbars, scrolling, editing, cut/copy/paste to distract you moving forward in your text. Focus Mode blurs out everything except the latest three lines of text you were working in. The idea is to activate it when you get stuck, blinding out everything else.

2. GOOD TYPOGRAPHY is not just pretty to look at. It facilitates the process of reading. If you look at text as an interface, typography is its usability. Common text editors are typographically weak (small font, tight leading, random measure, lack of whitespace). In addition, few people have the professional skills to design digital text. In Writer, font type, text size, column width, leading and contrast are carefully set for the best reading experience both in portrait and landscape mode.
(Writer uses a monospaced font called Nitti Light created and optimized for iPad by the type wizards at Bold Monday. The font transports the provisory character of drafting and forces you to read slowly and precisely without being tedious to look at.)

3. READING TIME gives you an approximation of how long it will take to read your text. Cursor time shows you in minutes and seconds up to where the cursor is.

4. KEYBOARD EXTENSIONS provides arrow keys and punctuation. We disabled smart quotes to keep you focused on what you say and not how you type. The suggestion to get rid of smart quotes is not a nerd’s wish, it came from a grandmaster of type (Erik Spiekermann).

5. DROPBOX allows web synchronization of your documents from iPad to the cloud, seamlessly, so you don’t have to spend time syncing with iTunes.

NewDoc

Just as its developers intended, the app is a pleasure to write in. I wasn’t too sure about its custom font at the outset but it quickly grew on me, and the text spacing (and some of the finer details like leading) make it very comfortable to work with. I found myself using it for all my review notes last and early this morning.

The Focus Mode in the app seems a good idea, though I’m not finding focus an issue while using the app in normal mode either.

I like the choice of using Dropbox for sync (as I love the service and have been using it for ages) but would still love to see a desktop companion app for iA Writer – and happily that is already being worked on.

Up to now, Simplenote was my favorite note-taking app and also generally to write review notes and similar in, with Evernote remaining an essential app for me but becoming more of my ‘storage workhorse’ rather than an app for drafting / editing in.

iA Writer feels like it may well replace Simplenote as my go-to writing app (or at least give it a heck of a good run for its money) – especially once it adds a good desktop companion app.

If you do a lot of writing on your iPad, or you want to and having found the right app for that yet, you really need to take a look at iA Writer.  You can find it in the App Store now, priced at $4.99.

*** This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPad App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page. 

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Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.