Update: Ah, to hell with it. I’ve bought it. I’ll let you know how I get on. I’m going to try and find ways of working around the encryption issues. Right now in my writing career it’s not so important, but it will be a ruddy big issue later down the road IF things move forwards.
Update 2: I thoroughly dislike the Dropbox integration. Twice I’ve tried to work with a script between my MacBook Pro and iPad using Dropbox and while I can edit the iPad version on FD 8 on the Mac, trying to get the updated version back into Final Draft Writer doesn’t seem to work. Arghh. Need to play around more before emailing support for help. Roll on on Final Draft’s Cloud Service which I hope will eliminate these kind of issues.
One thing I’d really like to do one day is trade this 17″ 2011 quad core MacBook Pro for a 13″ 2012 MacBook Air. While I love the 17″ screen, it’s not really a great “portable” to lug around too often (it’s light enough, but bulky and awkward).
Yes, I have an iPad 2 – but I find that trying to work with anything other than the most simplest of notes – even with a Bluetooth keyboard – is pushing things a bit. I like the iPad as a reader and as a simple communications device rather than a complete replacement for a notebook/ultrabook computer.
Final Draft, Inc. now have an iPad app (Final Draft Writer) that can create, edit and view Final Draft screenplays directly on an iPad device. I’m not quite sure who this appeals to, since I’d have thought that buying or borrowing a MacBook Air or similar with a copy of the full Final Draft would be easier on the eyes and fingers than an iPad/Bluetooth keyboard combo (even if said keyboard doubled as a cover). A MacBook Air would be just as light – if not lighter – than an iPad with keyboard.
I find that a 10″ screen is far too small to do any serious writing, and the cursor/highlight control by touch (rather than a mouse or touchpad) is a complete pain in the arse. In terms of reading Final Draft screenplays on the move, I use John August’s FDX Reader for that purpose and it suits me just fine (although what follows regarding encryption still holds true for FDX Reader and any other sensitive files on your iPad).
I’m almost always near a Mac and I use Dropbox to sync between devices with encrypted FileVault containers to protect the contents of my work. Can Final Draft Writer take advantage of such third party services? Yes, it supports Dropbox – but it still looks as though FDW can’t handle any form of third-party encryption other than what’s provided by the iPad, so this may sit badly with some people – me included.
If you’re not using a complex passphrase with your iPad rather than the default 4 digit passcode when enabling security for your iPad, you might as well kiss your IP and reputation goodbye if it’s stolen or lost and you can’t remotely wipe the device; the encryption and protection that Apple provides is simply not sufficient. Dropbox has now introduced two-factor authentication for accounts which is good – but given past security concerns, I’d not trust it for really sensitive data unless I can encrypt data on my own terms, hence the FileVault encrypted containers. Sadly the workflow offered by Final Draft Writer does not allow for that.
A traditional file-based workflow on an iPad is a complete pain and I do wish Apple would improve it – iTunes/iCloud/Dropbox be damned – it’s not intuitive or secure enough. I can’t keep company SSH keys on my iPad for use with the Prompt SSH iPad client because the lack of proper encryption and security on an iPad just isn’t sufficiently complex for what I’m used to working with on non-tablet systems.
One advantage I can see that Final Draft Writer would be good for is simple last-minute edits – typos, minor corrections and so on. But I’d hate to try and write an entire screenplay on this thing for all the reasons I’ve stated above.
Even for simple edits, I’m not sure I can quite justify the £20 price tag (which is currently discounted – the full price is at least £15 more than that) for a single iPad app, let alone one that ties in with industry standards (or should I say, what the industry demands – my preference is for Fountain). But I will await the judgement of others in the industry who are much more qualified than myself to comment on such a product before deciding whether such a purchase is worthwhile or not.