Five years ago this month we released iA Writer for iPad. We built apps for Mac, iPhone, Android, and a whole new iA Writer Pro branch.

People enjoy the experience of writing with iA Writer, they love its purity. We released iA Writer 3, the third generation of our writing machine, as a free upgrade to iA Writer Pro.

If you came here to read about ground-breaking new features, we have to apologize: iA Writer has not become bigger. It has become lighter, smarter, more refined.

Mac: Swipe Between Library, Editor and Preview

You will hardly notice all of the minuscule design refinements, but there are two major changes on the Mac that you can not overlook:

Swipe to File Library

Swipe from the left to show the document Library. Search, sort, and quickly swap between documents while focusing on the same window. If needed, you can still juggle with the standard Open dialog to organize your documents in the Finder. And of course, you can still open documents in separate windows when you need to see texts side-by-side. Most of the time though you can now focus on only one window.

Swipe to Preview

Swiping from the right now reveals an HTML Preview of the current document. The Preview comes with three templates composed in elegant typography that make your text a joy to read. iA Writer 3 uses the design of the selected template for formatted printing and PDF export. Here is what is really cool: Both Editor and Preview scroll in sync, to make corrections quick and easy. The Preview is fully responsive too—from a thumbnail overview through to Full Width. Beta testers found swiping between Library-Editor-Preview so natural they got frustrated when swiping in Mail didn’t work as expected.

iPhone and iPad: Consistent Structure, Flexible Keyboard Bar

iA Writer for iPhone and iPad can now do almost everything the Mac app can, including Word document import/export, in-document Find and Replace, and full-text Library search. Naturally, some aspects required adaption on smaller screens:

Consistent Structure

We created a more memorable app architecture by sticking to the three pane model Library-Editor-Preview. On iOS you will see only one pane at a time. We eliminated arbitrary icons, and streamlined the labelling and grouping of functions. After a lot of iteration, we ended up staring with disbelief as a desktop app’s menus emerged. Menus were invented in a time of small screens. With the return of small screens they actually make a lot of sense. We are still not sure about Menus on Mobile, but our beta testers welcomed them. Dribbble may boo us out, but now you will always know what the app can do, and where to find its functions. Wait, Menus on top… What about those short thumbs on an iPhone 6S?

Customizable Keyboard Bar

We returned to iA Writer’s original single Keyboard Bar and improved it. You can now personalize the functions you need frequently right on the keyboard. How? Following the logic of the standard keyboard, tap and hold shows additional options. Via a longer tap you can arrange and configure each key. We plan to localize the Keyboard Bar and simplify the configuration process in a future release for iOS9.

Experiencing iA Writer

The new iA Writer is focused on providing the most pleasurable writing experience on digital devices. We tested the apps with a battalion of dedicated iA Writer users, so we perfectly know how far from perfect we are. As with all major releases, there will be design bumps and code knots that we will soon correct with a 3.01 release. If you see anything you think needs more thought or fine-tuning, please do not hesitate to let us know.

If you own the two-year-old iA Writer Pro, the all new iA Writer 3 comes as a free, fully-compatible upgrade. iA Writer Classic still works on current operating systems but, following these past five years of free updates, no further compatibility updates will be provided. From now on, there will be only one iA Writer. We are looking forward to hearing how our brand new writing machines feel in your hands.