Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Actor Tom Hanks Releases App That'll Turn Your iPad Into a Typewriter

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 3:48 PM

click to enlarge hanx_writer.jpg
Whether an app that makes "thwack-thwack" typewriter sounds on your iPad is as useful as a robot butler will probably be a point of contention. But it's certainly as cute. And it comes with a celebrity imprimatur. 

Actor and Bay Area-native Tom Hanks has decided to enter the tech game with a little nostalgia item, the Hanx Writer, which turns your iPad into a manual typewriter. Available for free on iTunes, the app allows users to punch out material on a screen that resembles an old-fashioned typewriter keyboard, with each letter clacking into place the way it would if real paper were being run through a mechanical desktop machine. Additional fonts and sounds cost $2.99 each.

In an interview with USA Today, Hanks said the app offered a more "personalized experience" than regular iPad thumb-punching or Bluetooth keyboarding. Except the keys won't stick, and you won't have to roll the pages up and manually erase every time you make a mistake.

That said, it's still missing the romance of old mechanical devices, according to writers who loved them. The late Amiri Baraka, who didn't adopt word processors until late in his career, savored old-school methods of setting ink to paper.

Computers were an adjustment, he once said in an interview with this Weekly reporter. "You had to be less battering."

Filmmaker Woody Allen also resisted going electric. According to a 2011 PBS documentary, he used the same typewriter for 50 years. 
  • Pin It

About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

Suggested Reading


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"