Black text on a white background. No fonts. No formatting. Writer is Notepad with a price tag, on one of the most expensive toys around, and it's as simple as apps get.
At least, at first glance. The more time you spend with it, the more you appreciate just how well it does its job – stripping away the distractions of writing, and focusing on the important job of putting words onto electronic paper.
There are other apps that offer the same thing, such as Elements, but none with Writer's thought and attention on hand to turn minimalism into a feature rather than an excuse.
For starters, it's not simply black text, but a very readable font, beautifully spaced. As with all iPad apps, you'll ideally use a wireless keyboard to type with, but if you don't, the standard touchscreen keyboard has been given a facelift, with extra punctuation keys, and one-tap skips to the beginning and end of each word. Once you've used them, you'll long for them to be part of the standard iPad controls.
We're not too keen on the option that greys out everything except the line you're working on in the name of helping you stay focused, but you can choose not to use it. Other features include word and character counts, as well as an estimate of how long your current document will take to read out.
As a final touch, Writer connects to Dropbox to get your documents on and off the iPad for typesetting and printing. It seems limited and we didn't expect to like it, but we came to love Writer.
Much like the iPad, it's proof that simplicity can be beautiful.
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