Don't be fooled by this horrible knockoff (left) that costs more than the real thing.
There’s no denying that Apple’s App Store is the best source for smartphone and tablet apps, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why users continue to purchase iOS devices. But it does have its flaws, among them the select few developers who find it much easier to shamelessly clone existing apps rather than creating their own.
The latest is a word processor called Writing, which is identical to the wonderful iA Writer.
Evernote, the clunky-but-popular note-taking app and service, has acquired Penultimate, the slick, smooth and generally fantastic drawing and handwriting app. So good is Penultimate, in fact, that it is Apple’s 4th best-selling iOS app ever.
So what does the acquisition mean for Penultimate and — more importantly — Penultimate’s customers?
Minimalism is a fascinating thing. Our world is getting increasingly loud and busy, yet many are starting to want more minimal and distraction-free experiences. Apps specifically are another way that the minimalism trend can be observed; more and more applications are getting back to the roots by cutting away superfluous effects and features.
Pop is a perfect example of how minimalism manifests itself in a basic iOS app. Unlike other writing apps for the iPhone and iPad, Pop is just a blank pad to jot down text. Nothing else. Nothing at all… But really, that’s all there is.
You’re either going to love Opuss, or you’re going to really hate it. It’s a social network for word lovers. It’s Instagram for poetry. It’s Twitter for wannabe comedians. It’s beautifully and thoughtfully designed, but, still in its early days, isn’t as compelling as it could be.
When I first heard about Drafts, I thought “What’s the point?” After all, who needs an app in which to draft messages before sending them off to Twitter, or mailing them, or otherwise disseminating them to the world at large? My Twitter and mail apps take care of that already.
And then I used it, and it has turned into possibly the handiest little note-taking app I have on my iPod Touch.
My iPad blogging setup, including camera connection kit, emergency battery pack and pouch of spare SD cards. Photo Charlie Sorrel (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — This year I decided to cover the Mobile World Congress without a computer. Or at least, without my MacBook. I live in Barcelona, so I knocked out a couple of posts on my iMac when I was at home, but on the show floor and in the press lounge I relied solely on my iPad. And amazingly, it was up to the task. There are some annoyances, but with a combination of perseverance (or just stubbornness) and the right apps, I got a pretty easy system going.
BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — One of the things that first inspired me to be a professional writer was sharing my early fiction experiments as a 10 year old on the discussion boards of the old dial-up service, Prodigy. The instantaneous feedback, the helpful advice, the suggestions from other people about what should happen next to my character (a monster-killing, Nazi-loathing private dick named Dr. Crypt, a name which I still use as my Twitter handle): all of this was a formative experience for me, and without it, I never would have dared to dream that someday, I would make my living putting words down on paper.
Prodigy’s bulletin boards aren’t around anymore, but a new start up is trying to encourage kids and teenagers to write the same way. The company’s called Movellas, and it’s taking the concepts of Twitter, LiveJournal, Kickstarter and the Kindle self-publishing platform to help identify and nurture the next Stephanie Mayer or Stephen King when he or she is still a kid. And, of course, they have an app for that.
I’m actually typing this review using Belkin’s Bluetooth Keyboard Folio for iPad 2 ($100). There are a few keyboard cases out there created to both house the iPad 2 as well as provide an alternative to the iPad’s digital keyboard, but this keyboard case’s keyboard is an iPad-toting writer’s dream.