You’d think it would be enough for Tom Hanks to have won two academy awards and be adored by everyone. Now he’s making software for the iPad.
When I first heard about this, I decided I had to take a look. The basic app is free, so I installed it, and much to my surprise I had a lot of fun typing on it. I even wrote most of this review in the thing.
The gimmick of Hanx Writer is that it mimics typing on an old-fashioned typewriter, like the one I wrote all my college papers on. The main way it does this is by keeping the cursor centered on the screen while the editor (looking like a sheet of paper) travels back and forth as you type. The keyboard is in disguise as old keys, and appear to be depressed as you type. The default type face is typewriter, of course, and looking as if you are in need of replacing the ribbon.
You can add pages to your documents, and access them through an interface that is reminiscent to Daedalus Touch:
After you are done composing your master work, you can send it off via e-mail, open it in other apps on you iPad, or do with it pretty much what many writing apps allow.
A few drawbacks:
- Using the touch screen to navigate the document and select text is challenging, as the auto-centering function makes the text a bit of a moving target.
- The app is missing the ability to add a period to your text by double-tapping the space bar.
- You pretty much are limited to plain text composition, although you can change text color to red or blue, and you can center your text.
Hanx Writer is free. But if you upgrade you can change the typewriter style, and you can change background colors and a few other frills.
I doubt this app will make me more productive, but it is a hoot to use.
Update: For a contrary view (and one I can fully appreciate), see this blog post by the mystery novelist David Hewson.