I love my iPad. I am a self-confessed Apple addict. I have the whole set – iPhone, iPad and MacBook. I love them all, but my iPad has by far been one of the best investments ever. I take it almost everywhere with me, and thanks to its connectivity with the rest of the Apple family, it synchs up beautifully to allow me to work on it and edit from elsewhere.
But it’s less than personal. The word processing program, like all word processing programs, is all white and dull and so many buttons and options. I miss the good old days of pen and ink, when there were no distractions except your own imagination.But I have just discovered the most beautiful of apps.
It’s called Hanx Writer and it’s from Tom Hanks – yes, the actor. Turns out he’s addicted to typewriters, always used to take one with him wherever he went. And now he’s made one for the iPad. And it is just beautiful.
In the free version you have access to only one typewriter, but it’s all you need for distraction free, retro writing. As a child I loved playing with my grandmother’s typewriter, and this app is no less satisfying.
With each button press you get the the beautiful SHOOK SHOOK or FITT FITT (as Hanks himself describes it) of the typewriter. You can upgrade for a tiny £2.99 to allow you the choice of a further two machines, but to honest the free ‘Hanx Prime Select’ is a nice enough machine on its own. Each key ‘depresses’ every time you press it, it’s fast and efficient and there is literally nothing to distract you from your work. I find myself already working better on it, finding myself free to write whatever I want just because it’s so bloody lovely to use.
If you’re feeling particularly reckless you can even turn off the delete key, something I am tempted with after realising how awful my typing skills actually are. I have come to realise how much I actually rely on autocorrect and I appal myself!
Basically, this is a really fun, free app if you’re after something distraction free and a little but different. The app also allows to export to Dropbox and Evernote in pdf format so your work isn’t trapped on your iPad, never to be used anywhere else.
I look forward, and hope very much, that there will be more kooky, useful apps like this in the future. I have seen many quirky word processors, and many useful, but none combine functionality and personality in such a way as this.
Unfortunately I think Hanx Writer is only currently available on the Apple app store, but keep your eyes open in case it crosses the boundary to Android. It’s well worth a play just to reminisce.