Released on May 28, 2011, iA Writer for Mac was built around the idea of simplicity in creation. Rather than taking the traditional word-processing route, Information Architects created an application which literally disappeared as you wrote, revealing only your words, in a big, monospaced font on a white canvas. Sitting on your desktop, iA Writer was more of a notebook than a piece of software, offering only the bare essentials. With Markdown support on desktop, this often meant a lot more power than you’d imagine. And for what it set out to do, this was perfect.
Now, 2 years later, the same developers behind the award winning app are back with more refinement on the original idea of simplicity. Writer Pro, available now for iOS and OS X, takes the same chromeless experience of iA Writer but, as the new name suggests, introduces a number of simple, yet original features to allow the writer to not style the text, to not change a font or create a headline, but rather to edit the text more efficiently.
Through this, there is some compromise on the original promise of pure minimalism, but the company doesn’t forget its target-market of writers. A major new feature is Syntax Control, where Writer Pro will search your document with a number of filters for focusing on verbs, nouns, sentences, and a number of other textual nuances. There’s also the whole concept of the Workflow, which was missing in iA Writer, with different writing options for Notes, Writing, Editing and finally Reading. And while iA Writer did allow for pure creation, it often threw you into the deep end when you finally wanted to, say, edit a large chunk of text. I often just moved it into Google Docs or another more complicated piece of software. Now that gap is filled.
But progress, for Information Architects, doesn’t exactly come cheap. Available now, the app starts at $20.99 for the Mac version, and a further $20.99 for iPhone and iPad. For the full experience, this adds up to $42, a lot of money in a world of $0.99 apps. But then, as the apps name suggests, iA have built this as a Pro extension to iA Writer. And in that sense, the time I’ve spent using iA Writer, which will likely transfer to Writer Pro, is priceless.