Tom Hanks has just released a new app. Yes, you read that right. As reported by USA Today, the two-time Oscar-winning actor is releasing the Hanx Writer, an app that turns your iPad into a manual typewriter.
Hanks has always been a self-admitted manual typewriter freak. In fact, he presently owns an impressive collection of manual typewriters (he has more than 200, some previously owned by historical figures). In 2013, he even wrote an article about his love of typewriters in The New York Times. So it makes some sense that the 58-year old thespian would share his obsession to the masses by releasing an app that helps your iPad mimic a real-life typewriter.
How exactly does the Hanx Writer app turn your iPad into an old-school typewriter? For one, it reproduces the familiar thwacking sound of metal pounding on paper. If regular typing on your iPad seems so mundane, you can inject some verve into it via the Hanx Writer. The app even replicates the unique "ding-click-clunk" sound manual typewriters make when you've reached the end of one line and you need to start another one. Plus, the typing view literally transforms your iPad screen into that of a typewriter -- you can see the keys (shaped like typewriter keys, of course), the paper, and even the carriage return lever. Obviously, you can't get two or more keys to jam, but you never have to worry about accidentally punching holes in the paper either when you're pressing your letter O's too hard.
However, unlike real typewriters, the Hanx Writer does allow for easy editing. There's a delete key and users can even utilize an auto correct function as well as a forward function -- when users are done "typing", they can easily email, print, or share their documents. In other words, the app is still designed for optimum user-friendliness. For people who are afraid that their iPads are going to take them to the pre-tablet era, they can rest easy -- their mobile devices are still gonna be 21st century, it's just infected with a little bit of nostalgia, and of course, some cutesy fun.
According to Stuart Westphal, the app's designer who works for Hitcents (the company that brought us the Draw A Stickman game), Hanks wanted the app to be simple yet functional enough that people can actually use the Hanx Writer to compose prose, poetry or whatever they fancy writing on their tablets.
For now, the Hanx Writer is available for free in Apple's App Store. The app comes with a free manual typewriter-style font playfully called the Hanx Prime Select. Although if users prefer to get additional fonts (the Hanx 707 and the Hanx Golden Touch) and other typewriter sounds (yes, you read that right), they will have to shell out $2.99 for each added item. Users can also opt for the Writer's Block Bundle, which costs $4.99 but already includes the fonts mentioned earlier plus other features.
Interestingly enough, another company, QWERKY, is developing a Bluetooth keyboard for iPads styled in the manner of vintage typewriters. So if you're a typewriter fan who is as diehard as Tom Hanks, you can go ahead and use both together and type away to your heart's content.
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