Writer for iPad is a word processing application and as we all know, there’s quite a lot of competition already in this market niche. In short, Writer has got a lot to prove – especially if it wants to steal any of Pages’ proverbial thunder.
So what does Writer offer that Pages doesn’t? Well apparently, it’s a purist’s app, according to the app’s developers, Information Architects:
“The key is focus. What you need to write well is a Spartan setting that allows you to fully concentrate on your text and nothing but your text.”
Their point is this: too many features detract from the act of actually writing. It’s a fairly sound point. The words after all, are the most important thing.
So what features has Information Architects seen fit to include. Well, about five as far as we can work out, Dropbox syncing, a word count, a reading timer, keyboard extension and something called Focus Mode.
The Dropbox sync works seamlessly and is very useful for getting your words from Writer to places where you can actually use them.
We’ll let Information Architects tell you what Focus Mode is:
“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.”
But wait, there’s more: “Focus Mode blurs out everything except the current three lines of text you are working on. The idea is to activate it when you get stuck, blinding out everything else.”
You’re probably right if you think that sounds like a pile of pretentious cobblers.
We’re not sure what the value of greying out previous lines has, but we do like the notion of getting rid of the toolbar and it does make the app’s UI a pleasant place to work in, but to suggest it could intrinsically affect the value of your writing is frankly a pile of arse.
Writer is, however, a beautiful app to work in. The design of the typeface and spacing make composing text on it an absolute joy.
Two other neat little things we like about the app are it’s extended keyboard, which gives you dedicated buttons for such scholarly punctuation marks as the semi-colon. And a time signature, which tells you roughly how long it would take someone to read what you’ve written.
Putting aside all of Information Architects rather grandiose claims, this is a very good app.
In fact, we’d go so far as to say it’s currently the best word composition tool available on the iPad platform.