Pixter, my favorite text-scanning OCR app for the iPhone, is now available for the iPad. And v2.0 isn’t just now ready (at last) for the retina displays of the iPhone and the iPad, but it sports a whole new iOS7-inspired design which is frankly gorgeous.
Pixter is just about the most accurate OCR app I’ve used. You snap a picture of printed text, crop the picture, pick a language (“more than” 32 of them, which means what? 33?) and hit go. In a few seconds the page has been reduced to plain, unformatted text. There are usually no mistakes, and it even deals well with things like multiple measurements in metric and imperial in recipes.
You can translate the results between languages (great for foreign menus), tap a button to view the original photo and share any and all the results via the usual channels, plus opening the text in other apps.
And one look will tell you that this is heavily influenced by the design of iOS 7. In fact, it looks like a native app, with its thin font, minimal buttons clean, breezy layout. Unfortunately this coat of paint has been somewhat hastily applied in places – the text is indeed skinny, but looks a lot like the horrible non-antialiased rendering seen on Windows (old Windows at least – perhaps things are different in 2013), and the sharing arrow at top right looks downright glitchy in the iPad mini. Switch to the Retina iPhone 5 however and it all looks fantastic.
The other oddity is that it only works in portrait mode. This is fine for scanning the pages of books, but not so good for browsing the scans you have already made.
All in all though, this is a solid update to an already essential app. Plus it’s only $1 right now, so grab it if you don’t have it already. Next time you’re in a Chinese restaurant without and English menu you’ll thank me.