PlainText (Free): A new class of writing apps is permeating the App Store and they all have one thing in common – Dropbox. PlainText is a free writing app along the same lines as SimpleNote, but instead of syncing across various desktop and cloud services, it dumps all its files into Dropbox. Wherever you are, you’ll be able to access all your notes, articles and other literary jottings via the iPhone app, or the Web interface. Don’t expect any special formatting settings, multiple fonts or the other trappings of “better” text editors. PlainText is about writing – not settings.
DocumentsToGo Premium ($16.99): Word processors are readily available on the App Store, but full office suites are rare. Documents to Go has been a tried and true word processor/spreadsheet/presentation solution on the iPhone since the App Store first opened and it’s only gotten better over time. Not only does it view MS Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, but you can also edit them on the go. Need to finish that proposal on the train before you meet with that prospective client? Wrap it up with Documents to Go on your iPhone, then email yourself the file and print it when you get to the office. Mobile workstations just got a whole lot smaller.
MarkdownMail ($3.99): Markdown is, ironically, a markup language for online writing developed by [DaringFireball’s] John Gruber. Rather than composing full HTML documents with distracting code, or plain text documents with a handful of loose links within, Markdown allows you to easily embed links, headings and other stylizations using asterisks, underscores and other characters. MarkdownMail takes the concept to your inbox by letting you whip up e-mails in Markdown and then sending them as fully-formatted HTML messages to your recipients. While it takes some getting used to, Markdown will eventually be the only way you’ll want to write e-mails.
AP Stylebook ($24.99): Anyone who writes for a major publication is probably going to encounter an editor who abides by the style rules of the Associated Press. If you’re out on the road and you need to finish a story in a hurry, you don’t want to be bogged down with hunting through a book for some inane word you don’t remember how to spell correctly. That’s where the AP Stylebook iPhone app comes to save the day. Its built-in search function finds the desired word or phrase almost immediately and you can bookmark that entry for easier access next time you load the app. You can also make notes on specific entries and even enter your own. This is the AP Stylebook the way it was meant to be.
Dictionary.com (Free): Everyone needs a dictionary on-hand. You’re in a movie theater and someone onscreen uses a word you’ve never heard of, so you have to look it up – it happens. Dictionary.com’s free iPhone app gives you the same tome of information you love to look at on your bookshelf, but on your phone. Look up words, get pronunciations and example sentences all from the comfort of your thumbs. The app is ad supported, but there is a $2.99 ad-free version on the App Store, as well. However, unless you’re frequently reading the dictionary for fun (and if you are, we have other problems), the free version should be just fine.
Trunk Notes ($3.99): Imagine turning all those loose notes you take throughout the day into your own Wiki. Trunk Notes looks like most average note-taking apps, but includes built-in support for easy internal linking, Markdown syntax and text snippets (including those from TextExpander Touch). Start off with something like a table of contents for your random scribblings, then create new notes and link to them, adding links within those. Soon enough, you’ll have a locally-hosted Wikipedia for your thoughts. Trunk Notes can even embed images and audio within notes and the app supports commin Wiki markup language. Everything syncs to a designated Dropbox folder in the cloud and backups can easily be exported via e-mail. “Robust” doesn’t even begin to describe Trunk Notes.
PrintCentral ($7.99): Once you finish your document, you’ll probably need to print it. Sure, you could e-mail it to yourself, download it at your computer and print it…or you could just send it to the nearest printer via Wifi/Bluetooth/computer-connection directly from your iPhone. PrintCentral is the all-in-one document solution you’ve been looking for, with the ability to print calendar info, zip and unzip files right on the phone, move docs around your cloud accounts and even print e-mail attachments from within its own fully-featured e-mail client. Trust us, you could do a heck of a lot worse with eight bucks.
WriteRoom ($4.99): Sometimes, you just need something simple, something…specific. WriteRoom is an iPhone app made for those times when you don’t want any other distractions. With support for TextExpander snippets and tether-free syncing, WriteRoom is the perfect plain text editor for the minimalist in all of us.
Elements ($4.99): It takes someone special to create a unique and beautiful text editor for the iPhone. It takes an artist to create a universal one that’s just as unique and beautiful on the iPad. Elements is two apps in one that’s compatible with both the iPhone and iPad and features support for Markdown files, Dropbox syncing, TextExpander Touch, custom sorting and printing in iOS 4.2.
AudioNote ($4.99): Another two-fer, AudioNote is a combination text editor/audio recorder/notebook that syncs your notes to the audio being recorded. It’s like having a LiveScribe Smartpen right in your iPhone. You can scribble, draw or type your notes directly into the app, as well as import other AudioNote files into your note library.