Got a desire to produce your own personal e-book? Need to create an eye-catching presentation on your iOS device? Writer's Studio may be just the ticket. This US$1.99 app, currently on sale for $0.99, has many more features than I expected.
You start with a blank page and then pick a color or a background photo. Next add some text in your choice of size, font, color and style. Add graphics with a variety of paintbrush tools, or add shapes in colors that can also be filled.
If you're not an artist, try the built-in clip art, or you can find even more in the cloud from the server provided by the developers. Some of the features are very advanced. Drop in or import a graphic, and text flows around it.
You can add your own music, record your own narration or let the e-book read your text with a text-to-speech tool.
When you are done, share your creation via email or YouTube. You can output a .mov file, a PDF or even play it to AppleTV via AirPlay.
I tried the app over the weekend, and it is very powerful, packing a lot of tools that are amazing at this price. There is help built in, but this is not the kind of app where you just start exploring and things happen as expected. With many of the features, there is a bit of a learning curve, but it is not punishing. I found I had to create some projects, and experiment to make sure I understood how each tool is used and what some of the icons represented. On a third-generation iPad, I found the app sometimes a bit slow to respond, but it is doing a lot of rendering.
Writer's Studio isn't an app that will let you publish to Apple's App Store for wide distribution. Apple has iBooks Author for that. But if you want to create some personal, rich media e-books or presentations, Writer's Studio is a good call.
The app is universal, although it'll feel cramped on an iPhone. Writer's Studio requires iOS 4.3 or greater and is optimized for the iPhone 5.