My Favorite Product of 2011: iA Writer

It’s that universally retrospective time of year again; the dead space between Christmas and New Years when one can’t help but look back on the last ±365 days and wonder where they disappeared to. I don’t know if there is an actual term for this strange week of limbo, but I like to call it “Top 10 Week” because all means of communication (radio, television, and the internet) are jammed with lists of the best, and worst, of anything able to be categorized.

Last year, rather than creating a complete list, I started a tradition on this blog of simply sharing my favorite product of the year. In 2010 this happened to be a personal hygiene product but this year’s aligns with both my love for writing and technology.

Favorite Product of 2011: iA Writer

ALthough iA’s Writer was released in 2010, I didn’t get an iPad until this last summer. I knew that I would be doing a lot of word processing with it so Writer was one of the first apps I purchased. I had read about its great minimalist design and how it was supposed to remove all distractions and help one gain zen-like focus on the thoughts they were transferring to the screen and just had to try it out. I was not disappointed!

This app is really amazing. Every detail of it is completely thought out. They haven’t simply taken away features to gain the minimalist moniker but rather enhanced features that help users focus on creating literary content. Once your thoughts are on paper, you can add design elements in an application that’s actually meant for designing, like Apple’s Pages app or Adobe InDesign (definitely not MS Word).
My favorite feature of iA Writer for iPad is “focus mode,” which highlights only the sentence currently being worked on.

Focus mode on the iPad (notice the top line of special characters that iA added for a much nicer typing experience).

Writing on the iPad is good fun and all; but, the small keyboard can sometimes be annoying. This is especially true for longer documents. Thankfully iA released a Mac version of Writer earlier this year. Initially I had my doubts. While its features, like focus mode, made sense on the small iPad screen, I wasn’t sure if I would find them useful on a 27″ iMac screen. I’ve always used TextEdit and didn’t have a completely compelling reason to switch. However, I like Writer so much on the iPad that I thought I should give the Mac app a chance.

I’m glad I did. Since downloading it I haven’t opened TextEdit once. Thanks to DropBox and iCloud integration, my documents are easily accessible on any of my devices. Writer looks just as beautiful, if not more so, on the desktop screen. My favorite feature of the Mac version is “full screen mode,” which fills the entire screen with one perfectly sized column for text in the center. In conjunction with “focus mode” I get completely immersed in my writing projects and distractions seem to simply evaporate away.

Full screen and focus mode in Mac app.

If you enjoy writing and/or have trouble overcoming distractions (the two seem to go hand-in-hand) you have simply got to give iA Writer a try. Yes, there isn’t anything revolutionary about a text editor and it isn’t going to do the hard work of coming up with interesting content for you, but it has definitely helped me focus my creativity. Also, I might be a little bit of a nerd when it comes to things like this, because I think Writer is the funnest app I have ever used — take that Angry Birds!




6 thoughts on “My Favorite Product of 2011: iA Writer

  1. very cool. I’ve had an iPad since last Christmas and admittedly do not use it to it’s full potential. It has actually become a glorified movie player for our 2 1/2 yr old. I don’t have wireless at home (and can’t set it up due to our odd renting situation) so we don’t go online w the iPad either. I’m hoping to someday use it for all of these cool reasons like this. Great post!

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this post….someday I might transfer over to the Mac world…I do love the iphone that I inherited from my hubby when he upgraded this year. Can’t believe all the things I use it for. Great post!

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