U.S film star Tom Hanks is best known for his on screen roles in Big, Sleepless in Seattle, Forrest Gump and The Green Mile, but his latest venture is set to propel him into the world of digital technology.
The Academy Award winning actor has turned his hand to app development, and his first creation has shot straight to the top of the U.S App Store within four days of its release. The ‘Hanx Writer’ is a typewriter app that exactly replicates the feel of typing on an old school typewriter; something that Hanks says he misses. Everything from the clack of the keys to the ‘ping!’ at the end of the sentence is duplicated to reproduce the authentic sound that an old typewriter makes.
Hanks explained in a Twitter Q&A session why he wanted to develop the app:
“I wanted to have the sensation of an old manual typewriter – I wanted the sound of typing if nothing else,” he said. “cause I find it’s like music that spurs along the creative urge. Bang bang clack-clack-clack puckapuckapuckapucka…”
And it seems that he is not the only one that misses the golden era of the manual typewriter, for the Hanx Writer app is currently ranked the number one app for iPad in the US, and second most popular app in the UK. Not only that but generous Hanks has offered the app for free, such is his love for old typewriter, he wants us all to get in on the act. And when you read an excerpt from an article he wrote for the New York Times, you can see why:
“Try this experiment: on your laptop, type out the opening line of “Moby Dick” and it sounds like callmeishmael. Now do the same on a 1950s Olympia (need one? I’ve got a couple) and behold: CALL! ME! ISHMAEL! Use your iPad to make a to-do list and no one would even notice, not that anyone should. But type it on an old Triumph, Voss or Cole Steel and the world will know you have an agenda: LUGGAGE TAGS! EXTENSION CORDS! CALL EMMA!” Hanks said.
The Hanx Writer app is available in three different typewriter modes; Prime Select, 707 and Golden Touch, all designed to offer a different sound and quality ‘clacking’.
Perhaps the strangest thing of all however, is that Hanks actually uses a manual typewriter in his daily routine, and therefore has no need for the app that he created:
“I use a manual typewriter — and the United States Postal Service — almost every day. My snail-mail letters and thank-you notes, office memos and to-do lists, and rough — and I mean very rough — drafts of story pages are messy things, but the creating of them satisfies me like few other daily tasks,” he said.
To download the app go to iTunes.com