You might not be old enough to remember what using a typewriter was like, but Tom Hanks is. The award-winning actor, director, producer and writer is a bit of a typewriter enthusiast, which is why he teamed up with Hitcents to create the Hanx Writer app, aiming to show all of us what we’re missing by not using the original word processors.
To be sure, Hanx Writer doesn’t want you to use an actual typewriter. Too expensive, too inefficient. But the app can approximate the look, sound and feel of turning your iPad into a typewriter, particularly if you use it with a keyboard, and it does it in fairly ingenious fashion. It begins with an introductory note from Hanks himself, explaining why he is so enamored by the process of writing on a typewriter.
Hanks sent three typewriters from his vintage collection to Hitcents, and the studio used them as inspiration to create three different machines for the app, each with its own unique typeface and typing sound. Downloading the base version of Hanx Writer for free gets you the Hanx Prime Select, as well as the ability to compose, save and send one document (in PDF form). You can even turn off the delete key to really go old school, as any mistake you make will still leave a mark on the document.
(Editor’s note: They used something called whiteout to help fix mistakes, kids.)
If you end up falling in love with Hanx Writer, buying the Writer’s Block Bundle for $4.99 unlocks a host of nifty additions. Those include two more virtual typewriters with their own fonts and sounds, the ability to save multiple documents, new background and ribbon colors and more.
Even if you don’t want to invest in it, Hanx Writer is certainly fun to play with over a few spare minutes. Hit the carriage return and slide over to the iOS App Store to see what combining an iPad and a typewriter is all about.