"A Note Taking System" - what the iPad Pro should be

Discussion in 'iPad' started by jozero, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. jozero macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2009
  2. bag99001 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2015
    Eh. It's a theoretical product (not shipping for almost a year) with major latency even in a demo. What exactly is missing from the iPad that you want to do that this demonstrates?
  3. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Are you trying to advertise this product?

    This is exactly how I use my iPad Pro today. I mean, exactly like is shown in this video. I take tons of notes, mark up documents, fill in paperwork, etc. But I get full color, can choose which apps best suit my needs, have a high resolution camera integrated into the device which I use as a scanner and as a tool to document things inserting the photos directly into my notes, etc. I see very little that this device does better than the iPad I've already had for more than a year.
  4. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    I use my iPad Pro in a similar fashion. But I can see how this device could be a solution for some.

    A few things come to mind...
    • eInk display
    • paper "texture" of the screen
    • weight (?)
    • battery life (?)
    • price (?)
    Obviously for most people a general purpose tablet will be a better fit... but even with do-all tabletsreadily available, dedicated ereaders are still selling well. So clearly there is a market for devices that are more focused in scope than general purpose tablets.

    With all of the tablets and gadgets I currently have, depending upon the technology and price of this thing, I could see myself buying one. But it won't be for everyone.
  5. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Oh, I agree that maybe, at some time there will be devices like this that are super thin, light, cheap paper replacements, but I'm doubtful this is that device. I've been yearning for a real digital notebook for many years. The iPad Pro has finally made that a reality for me.
  6. Ledgem macrumors 65832


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    I've been using iPads as paper replacements for a few years now. Started with the fat rubber-tipped styluses, then moved on to the Adonit Jot Dash (which was amazing), and now the Apple Pencil. If Apple offered an alternative stylus geared toward writing - something a bit smaller and lighter than the Pencil, and that had better battery life (perhaps at the expense of some of the art-based sensing in the Pencil) - then the system would be perfect. As it stands, I use a Pencil inside of a Ztylus case (to add a pen clip, and since I work in healthcare, so that I can sanitize it without risking exposing much of the Pencil directly to bleach). A bit bulky, but the best writing experience by far.
  7. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I do primarily writing with the pencil, and don't have any issue with the product as it is. The battery life isn't great, but that seems to be exacerbated if you carry it around with you everywhere - it never gets a chance to go to sleep. I don't think they can have the same experience if they removed some of the sensing hardware - those sensors are what allows it to be so accurate.

    What I am hoping for is a selection of different tips - preferably something with just a hair more drag.
  8. jozero, Dec 4, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016

    jozero thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2009
    Reading thru the responses here, which I appreciate, perhaps I have missed some functionality with my iPad Pro. I have an iPad Pro with keyboard and pencil. In a nutshell everything seems siloed, the iPad Pro sure doesn't work like this for me. Here is how I work on the iPad Pro, if I am doing it "wrong" please enlighten me.

    - I have PDFs. By default they go in iBooks. I like reading them there.
    - There is a certain PDF I want to take notes on. I launch another application like Notability. After it imports I can make notes on it. I don't see anyway of making highlites in iBooks on PDFs, and also having the notes show up in a centralized manner.
    - I have some images, I'd like to mark them up. I launch Paper by 53. It imports the images. I mark them up and make notes. The images, from Photos, have no clue they have been edited.
    - These PDFs / Images are all important to one project. I have to remember which apps imported which piece of information (PDF, or Image) and then individually go into them and export them to email. iBooks, which "stores" the PDFs, has zero clue of the notes I've taken or the lines I've highlighted. Isn't it the centre store for PDFs ?

    Am I missing something ? Everything app and effect I do a document thru an app is completely siloed.

    I want a *centralized note system*. I want to be able to highlight the text in various PDFs, tag it with one project name, work on documents with various apps, and have them all effected and stored in one folder.

    A "A Note Taking System" if you will.

    Can you do this on an iPad Pro ?

    Essentially I believe the Apple Pencil should just work *anywhere*. Highlight something, circle something, write something down, iOS should be smart enough to store it all in Notes. One centralized location.

    I agree the project has major red flags. I have never seen an e-ink screen work like that. Sure would be fantastic if it did though.
  9. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    You mentioned eInk display. I've learned a little about that type of display, because my Kindle uses it. The greatest thing about an eInk display is that battery life is measured in weeks rather than in hours like iPads. I read on my Kindle for several hours per day and I need to charge the device, on average, two or three times per month. If the device in the OP is actually using an eInk display, which is what it looks to be using, then battery life is going to be a very strong selling point. From what I understand of the Kindle Oasis, which uses the latest eInk tech, the battery life in that device can supposedly last for over a month, even with daily use.
  10. iPadDad macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2014
    so I need this device as well as my computing device?!?!

    Why when I get all that in one device... iPad Pro.
  11. Beavix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2010
    There's your mistake. Don't bury your PDFs inside iBooks.

    Use a file manager app like Documents to store PDFs. Documents has tools for viewing and marking the PDF files and there is also a dedicated app for this purpose called PDF Expert made by the same developers.

    In Documents you can make folders for projects and store different types of files. The next step is to find other apps you need which can open and save files from/to those folders. Documents has an "open in..." action but I'm not sure if the other apps will be able to save the files in the same location. I guess it depends on each app.

    Yeah, it's more complicated than it should be.
  12. username: macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2013
    There isn't an exact solution for every work flow. There probably never will be. You have to be a bit flexible and try new things.

    For example if you used Evernote you can keep all of your stuff together and annotate and highlight PDFs, images, take notes etc. if that's your thing.

    Your main issue seems to be that photos doesn't allow annotations which they should do soon I think. So we can keep our annotated images in photos.

    Use PDF expert for PDFs. If you don't like silos use Dropbox or some cloud service.
  13. TwiceNightly macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2008
    You can store everything in iCloud Drive and work "centrally" from there.

    For example create a folder in iCloud Drive and store things in it like:
    PDF - these can be marked up, annotated and signed and saved directly from the drive app
    Office/iWork documents
    Photos - photos can be sent from the camera roll to iCloud drive, can be "printed to PDF" to be marked up, etc
  14. ardchoille50, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    What you're experiencing is the result of sandboxing coupled with the fact that iOS devices lack a traditional file system. iOS devices are app-centric rather than file-centric like a Mac, and sandboxing means that no app can interfere with the files of another app unless the relevant apps are specifically designed to perform such a function. These are some of the reasons that some folks use a groups of apps from the same developer - such as Documents 5 and PDF Expert, both by Readdle. I have almost all of Readdle's apps and use them together to create a note taking system and it works quite well. I believe Readdle designed their apps to work together to overcome these "limitations" of iOS.

    iBooks is good for what it does, but I feel it's limited for what you're trying to accomplish. I encourage you to spend some time researching the apps offered by Readdle, some of them are paid apps but well worth the money in the long run.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Price - 379 (if you pre-order now), otherwise its advertised at $716
    Not available until August 2017 - provided it doesn't get delayed.

    What does this tablet do that cannot be done with the iPad Pro, or even the Surface Pro. The tasks and advantages being highlighted in the video are things that both the iPad and Surface Pro do now. While the battery may be superior to both the SP and iPad, its running e-ink (or a variant), and that in of itself can be limiting.

    I am intrigued by the video but I cannot imagine how this can succeed being priced so high
  16. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    You spoke of limitations in a device using the eInk display. Anyone who has a Kindle will tell you that the eInk display appears to lag compared to the iPP or SP, this is simply an effect of this type of display rather than giving the appearance of a slow processor.
  17. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I see this a bit as though your expectations don't line up with what's realistically practical. How is this product any different than what the workflow on the iPad would have you do? Either way you are 'siloed' - one is just in software - the other to a separate piece of hardware while also being subjected to the limitations of their apps on other platforms. Let's look at your workflow for an example.

    - There is a certain PDF you want to take notes on. Right now on the iPad you can take the relatively streamlined approach of just opening that PDF in another app. With this tablet the workflow is exactly the same! You have to export the PDF to their app or program so it syncs to the tablet, hope it syncs in a reasonable timeframe, then switch hardware devices to make your notes.

    - Same with images. Right now on your iPad you simply open an image that already exists on your iPad in a different program to work on it. You want to move it to this tablet, you have to follow the same workflow as above. And if you get any image at all, it's black and white and low resolution.

    - Your PDF's/Images are still all over the place with this system - the original copies are still on your computer and/or iPad, the modified versions existing only on this stand-alone tablet and in its proprietary file system. What happens if you edit a PDF on that tablet and want to get it back out into the world? You have to export it, exactly like you do on the iPad now!

    You want a 'centralized' note system, then what you need to do is choose the software parts today that make this possible. iBooks and Photos and Notes aren't it. It's not how they are designed to be used, and honestly I question whether people want those programs to act like that. If you are editing a picture, most people want to edit a copy, not the original.

    What I do now is I have a folder in Dropbox for a project. Everything lives there. All of my notes are taken in Goodnotes. It can import a PDF or images. I can take notes, mark up documents. When I'm done with a section or I need to share it with someone else, I export that page or section as a PDF back to my folder in Dropbox. Having a separate piece of hardware with another proprietary piece of software would just complicate this workflow, not simplify it.
  18. bag99001 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2015
  19. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I own a Kindle, love it, but you're 100% correct the lagging is significant, I wonder if they're using a different generation of e-ink or a variation so that the latency isn't a problem. If they don't, then it will be DOA next August.
  20. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    You make a very good point about price. Apple sells the iPad Pro 9.7 base model Wi-Fi+Cellular for $729, and the Wi-Fi-only model is $699.

    And, someone else mentioned color, the e-Ink display does not support color.

    I think they're going to have to make some changes if they expect to stay afloat.
  21. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    Like Beavis said, use Documents 5 and spend a little money and get PDF Expert 5. it integrates in Documents.
    I removed iBooks as it interfered with my workflow.

    Documents opens my pdfs from the internet/email/etc and stores them in documents. From there I can quickly annotated them, move them to the appropriate folder in icloud/dropbox/and many others. I've never made any notes on pictures, but if needs it can't be done you can always convert them to pdf and annotated them.
    When I get a word file from a client in my mail I open it in Documents, store it in the folder it needs to be.
    Then it gets weird, Word doesn't allow me to open the file from open with app... but I need to go to word, select open, then edit the document and then it stores it automatically. If I open from Documents in Word, I need to make a copy and store it separately. A bit odd behavior from Word.

    A few other apps that are really nice: Goodnotes (notability like, but I prefer it because of the work flow/ or perhaps because I've used it so much longer) and most of all, try Nebo.
    It feels a bit in Beta, misses some features (icloud/dropbox/other sync) and is not as stable as I would like it to be, but it is bloody brilliant. At the moment it is still free IIRC. This could very well be the future where dictation and writing with a pen are part of the way you input data. Just like a keyboard has been for the last decades.

    but most of all, Documents. Serious. It's free. PDF Expert isn't but it's worth it's money IMHO.
  22. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Since Apple added iCloud document and desktop syncing to macOS, I've found using iCloud is a viable alternative to a local file system (and in many ways it's better because the documents aren't isolated on my iPad) - more and more apps are adding support for the document picker and it lets you use iCloud as a "local" file system.

    For example, I scan all incoming snail mail, receipts, etc into specific folders based on their type on my Mac. I can then open one from my iCloud documents folder in Adobe Acrobat, annotate it and the changes end up back on my Mac automatically (and are also available to any other app that uses the document picker)

    Documents by Readdle also supports the document picker (just tap the folder next to the search icon)

    I also sync my Documents folder to my Synology NAS via Synology Cloud Sync so I always have an onsite copy to backup (I don't trust my documents to be safe in the cloud!)

    Also, the document picker isn't limited to iCloud - other providers such as Dropbox and Google Drive can register as a provider and supply the same functionality: I could, for example, use the cloud sync provider from Synology to keep a local copy of all my synced documents on my iPad and then use the document picker to open them from there. The reason I stick with iCloud is it's always the first provider shown so it's less hassle to use it :)
  23. jeremiah256 macrumors 65816


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California

    You aren't doing anything wrong, it's just a change in mindset with regard to storage of documents. As others have discussed, try not to store documents in apps. On a desktop, your photos aren't stored in Paint, nor are your PDFs stored in Adobe Reader. They're stored on your hard drive. On iOS devices, use the cloud as your hard drive. I believe all the major cloud storage services (iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive) will allow you to store the files locally, but also have them automatically sync'd to the cloud. Need to work on a photo from your Photo's app? Open it in whatever app you use to manipulate it, but when done, store it in a folder you've set aside for that project. Same for any other document. Now, if you change apps (instead of using Adobe to open the PDF, you want to open it in OneNote), you just go to your folder to open it. Everything centralized, with the added benefit that if your iOS device is destroyed, all your files are accessible in the cloud.
  24. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    My iPad Pro + Apple Pencil is the best note taking system I have ever used in my life. It obviously beats having stacks of paper notebooks everywhere, and it's also better than having computer folders full of .txt files. I have grown to love handwritten notes again--I tend to remember things better when I physically write them as opposed to typing them.

    We use OneNote for work, so during the day my iPad Pro sits flat on my desk with my Apple Pencil. I keep monthly OneNote notebooks on all my client meetings and conference calls, and they sync seamlessly back and forth with my Mac as well.

    For notes I need to share with my wife via iCloud, we just use the Notes app, and I hand write a lot of things there too. It's kind of like our substitute for the old "notes on the fridge" system.

    For my personal notes that I don't need to collaborate on with anyone, I use Notability, which is the most robust note taking app I've ever seen, and can almost be used more like a scrapbook.

    I've also gotten in the habit of watching Netflix in PiP mode while I color in Pigment or sketch on Paper by 53.

    I railed pretty hard against the iPad Pro at first, but it has quickly become my notebook, my laptop replacement, and everything else in between. I even record, edit, and publish my podcast with it. Almost all of my work applications run perfectly on the iPad Pro except for one Flash based application--for that one I have to log in to my Mac via Screens if I want to use it on my iPad. Other than that---holy cow it's been a miracle device for me.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 5, 2016 ---
    I have always found that I've used my Macs this way anyway. I don't really file things away in the file system. Office, iWork, and all the other stuff I use all sync and back up in the cloud. It's just a different way to approach things, and for some people, paradigms are hard to break. In some cases, I have found the iOS way is even better than using the file system, especially when I'm moving files around for my podcast.
  25. jozero thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2009
    Awesome responses, thanks. I will go thru the solutions and try them for myself to see what works best.

    As an aside, and perhaps partially responsible partially for my confusion, macOS iBooks (well Preview) lets you highlight and take notes. I will look at the solutions here, but I can see preview being baked into iOS iBooks.

    I'd like to respond to this though. "iOS devices are app-centric rather than file-centric like a Mac". This is insane, I realize thats how IOS works, but how about how HUMANS work ? Imagine if it worked like this in real life, you were doing a job with 4 tools, and every time you needed to use one you have to get in your car and drive somewhere else (obviously exaggerating for effect here). I don't care if this is for security, first make it work the best for humans.

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