Scrivener for iPad

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Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:09 pm Post

Keith's logic makes perfect sense to me.

I will probably buy an iPad at some point, and will always use Scrivener, but if I need to own a laptop to use Scrivener, I will. It will make long plane trips less writing-intensive, but like I said, the thought process makes sense.


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Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:19 am Post

I only thought of wanting Scrivener for iPad when I saw that Apple have released iWork (Pages, etc.) for iPad. I admit, however, that these may have been written with inside information and capabilities not available to the app developers and so Pages' ability to open .RTF may not be available to app devs - but, then again, it may be.

P.S. By the way, everyone, the iPad is said to be able to support a bluetooth keyboard - like the one I am writing this on. 8)

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:27 am Post

What if there was a pared down Scrivener app that allowed you to work on individual text files - without full access to the binder and outline modes. It would allow you to choose specific pages you knew you were going to work on that day, use them with your iPad, and then sync them back to the main document.

Either that, or work with one of the smaller/simpler text editing programs, like write room, and see if they will build in some functionality that lets you communicate easily between the two programs.

That way, before you leave the house, you open your project, export the "Chapter 1" file only. Use that on your iPad at the library. Come back home and upload the changes. Scrivener users with iPads are going to be doing this in some way regardless, so maybe there's a way to build it in.

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:12 am Post

Some have complained about not wanting to write without a keyboard. That's a legitimate beef, but the iPad not only will have a combo keyboard and stand, it'll work with the stock Apple Bluetooth keyboard. You can find details here:

Also, keep in mind that, while the iPad is about half as fast as an MacBook, it also costs half as much and is far more portable (1.5 pounds or 0.68 kg). If you've ever thought of getting a MacBook but were deterred by the $1,000 price, an iPad at $499 could be the answer for you. As Steve Jobs clearly intended, the iPad offers something much better than a netbook for a netbook price.

But, as Keith has stressed, bringing Scrivener to the iPad is a different issue. From what the developer of TaskPaper has told me, the current iPhone (and thus iPad) OS doesn't have all the text-handling bells and whistles that Keith has used to write Scrivener. Recreating them from scratch would take the resources of an Apple. That said, Apple did create a powerful word processor when they ported Pages to the iPad. If those text-handling features find their way into the 4.0 version of the iPhone/iPad OS, then a version of Scrivener for the iPad would make a lot more sense.

If that happens, rather than load Keith down with learning a new OS and distracting him still further away from writing novels, it might be possible to find a talented, independent iPhone developer who could much more easily create a feature-complete and file compatible version for the iPad. That'd make everyone happy.

Keep in mind that the market for iPad apps is likely to be on the same huge scale as iPhone apps. Like it or not, the Mac is a niche product, particularly in the global market. The iPhone is not a niche product. It is a huge product globally. The same is likely to be true of iPad products, which is why there are rumors that Apple has bought up most of the world production of 10-inch LCD screens for it. An iPad version of Scrivener could, for instance, sell for the same $9.95 that Apple will be selling Pages. If Keith gets $1 of that as his share for being the designer, leaving $6 for the developer, he could be doing very, very well indeed.

For now, we can all relax. The first models of the iPad won't be out for two months and after that we can see what direction Apple takes the operating system and if it would even be possible to create something like Scrivener.

Personally, I'd love to see an iPad version of Scrivener. Yesterday, I was skeptical that I'd ever want an iPad. Today, I'm looking for good excuses to get one. Doing books for the iPad is one excuse. Having Scrivener running on it would be another powerful reason.

--Mike Perry, Seattle

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:54 am Post

Concentrate on 2.0 and beyond for mac.


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Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:09 am Post

Keith, resist all this palaver from the gadgetarians.
The iPad will be OK for e-mail and writing notes in Pages files.
But don't mistake it for a writing machine.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is a far better tool.
Bigger screen, faster chip, more text & reference apps.
More file storage, true multi-tasking, fast wi-fi;
Large keyboard, did I mention Scrivener?
And I'll take a mouse to gestures, any day.

I would like it if AT&T offered 3g access for $15 a month, though. :idea:

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:25 am Post

I am not going to write on a pad, and why would I buy a keyboard for it? I don't need that. I have that, I call it my iMac. I don't get all the hoohah about the iPad here? It is cool as a replacement for a netbook but that is just about it, making it leaner and slicker.
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Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:48 am Post

adamnyc wrote:What if there was a pared down Scrivener app that allowed you to work on individual text files - without full access to the binder and outline modes. … and then sync them back to the main document.

Sounds interesting to me! Because if we work in the library, we make quick notes and scribbles. Than @Home we work things out. Similar, it is imaginable to have only the "cards" of Scrivener (like a digital Hipster PDA).

If it comes to making choices, I do agree: I prefer the Mac—Scrivener te be developed and maintained. But is it really a matter of either or? :roll:

P.S. Congrat with the 2.0, you guys made us curious. Now we have to wait (and support you guys): "Patience, my friend, patience…"

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:24 am Post

Being a writers forum you would imagine a certain amount of intellience. Yet, it seems, even when explained simply and precisely why this isn't a viable project certain people still have to try it on. It's like being back in school. You have my complete sympathy Keith as this is going to be the 'iPhone / iTouch pared down app' all over again.
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Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:05 am Post

Hi Keith.

When a company describes its own technology as 'magical', I get the uneasy feeling they're trying to pull the wool over my eyes. I watched the video and it was the creepiest thing I have ever seen come out of Apple marketing. The Cupertino folk appeared to be attempting to hypnotise me through Quicktime. All I see is a big iPod, to be honest.

I'm not yet convinced that many writers are going to be bashing out epics on a tiny non-tactile keyboard, and if Apple thought they were then they wouldn't have bothered with a keyboard add-on and if it needs a keyboard add-on then I'm more inclined to get a cheap Macbook and run stuff without restrictions.

Anyway, that's just me.
As if I didn't talk enough: Dom on Writing

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:31 am Post

What Rayz says.
People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading. —Logan Pearsall Smith

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:39 am Post


For me Scrivener does not make sense on a 10" screen. I remember when I still had my iBook, using Scrivener always felt cramped (to me - I know that Keith originally used an iBook for programming and writing). To make use of the Binder and of multiple views, I need a larger screen - 15" and more.

I find the iPad interesting and will probably get one - once the next generation is available. If I use it for writing (using a real keyboard), it will only serve as input channel to Scrivener. Just as I use a Windows notebook/tablet PC for writing on the road. All the new stuff will be imported into my Scrivener projects either through RTF files or through Dropbox.

So: I won't need a Scrivener for iPad.

My 2 ct,

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:48 pm Post

I don't know if I am on the wrong side of the fence again, but for me it seems like the iPad fills a niche currently clunkily occupied by my MacBook. It exists on the sofa, on my bed, on sunloungers, on trains, buses and planes.
A MacBook is just too big. I have been considering an Air for a while, but it's just overkill for the quick computering it would get used for. The iPad fills that niche quite snugly. And yes, it's a large iPod touch. A larger screen is exactly hat it needed to migrate from smartphone to satellite computer. A larger screen makes it easier to work with for longer.

I am going to replace my MacBook with an iPad. There are only 3 programs I am going to miss: Journler, Curio and Scrivener. Realistically i can easily take notes still and then stick them on my iMac. That said, if it's going to help at all, I would gladly put in any spare time and energy i can muster into figuring out this iDev business and hacking something together.

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:18 pm Post

Leigh wrote:What Rayz says.


You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:22 pm Post

I love reading what other writers have to say about writing, especially writing technology. These tech tools are such fun to play with. But, fwiw, I love my Macbook. I bought it on eBay the day after the first unibody MB Pros came out. It was two months old and loaded with the top of everything, but the guy who sold it just had to have a new unibody. It was a win-win for both of us.

I also love my Alphasmart: light weight, push-button easy to use, endless battery life, uploads files straight into Scrivener without a glitch.

I also love my iPhone. It's my most portable computer. I can watch movies, listen to music, keep in contact with my office and know where/when and with whom I should be when I travel. I just completed a fast trip to Washington DC with lots of appointments. I never used a cab. The gps on my iPhone guided me from one appointment to the next without a hitch.

I also love books. I stuff them in pockets, my purse, my backpack or briefcase and they're there, ready whenever I am.

Why do I need an iPad? I can see how it might be useful for giving presentations on the go, or for doing work in a large database I keep in Filemaker but could port (in selected pieces) to Numbers. Both of these are my real-job, bill-paying work. The iPad, because of its superior portability, might be helpful for that, particularly the database part. On the other hand, the iPhone might actually be better for these things. I dunno yet.

But, assuming the iPad is a better tool for business, why do I need/want it for writing? I'm still trying to figure out HOW anyone writes on an iPhone. If I ever get past that, I'll give a thought to why they do it. If I wanted, I guess I could write in Pages on the iPad, then move it to Word and on to Scrivener. There are probably other ways to do it, as well. I'm sure Docs to Go will port to the iPad pretty quickly and that would work, as well.

But ... I still love my Macbook. When I want to go light, I find the Alphasmart, low-tech and boring as it may be, is great. In fact, I often use the Alphasmart in my home, even though I have both a Macbook and and iMac right there beside me. The Alphasmart is a good writing environment.

As for putting Scrivener on the iPhone, iPad, Alphasmart, or whatever; it's not necessary. Just use these other tools, then move your deathless prose to Scrivener later. Scrivener is irreplaceable; a reason in itself to switch to Mac. But it doesn't need to be on every single gadget out there to do its magic.

I may buy an iPad in a few months, depending on whether or not I decide it will save me enough time on my real job to be worth it. I might even end up writing on it. But I'm keeping my Macbook. And my Alphasmart. And my iMac. And my iPhone.

Did I mention I also have a Shuffle?