Here's a brief review of a new iPad app, Writer, by iA. I had assumed, shortly after getting started with my iPad, that it really wouldn't be a viable writing tool--indeed, I must say that I still don't like blogging on it. Pages, the standard Apple word processor, is irritating in a lot of ways, offering only the most meager collection of options, and making them difficult to access. (Why, for instance, are you forced to go into a menu to get strikethrough? There is ample room on the toolbar.)
But Writer is conceptually different. It is VERY simple, eschewing all formatting options entirely, so that you can concentrate only on the writing itself. It features an extended keyboard with--at last!--left and right cursor arrows, AND "word" keys that allow you to navigate through a document word by word. It has its own custom-designed font, which is extremely pleasing to read. It will automatically sync what you're working on to your Dropbox, so that you can continue your work on another computer, and saves in .txt format for full compatibility. There's a special "focus" mode as well, that only shows you the last three lines you were working on--an unnecessary limitation, in my book, but perhaps useful to some. I have already written a couple of letters on it and believe I could write a story as well.
I'd like to see one concession to formatting, though: tabs. I don't like paragraphing using white spaces, except in a business letter. But this is easily accomplished "in post," as it were. A really nice app, and it's just five bucks.
I also thought I'd share this: the talk I gave at the Colgate Writers' Conference this past June. It's called "In the Presence of Absence: or, Thanks, Blanks!" and is an appreciation of negative space in fiction (and in other forms, for that matter).