iPad pro as analog notebook replacement

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Superspeed500, Dec 11, 2016.


Should I get the iPad Pro 9.7 + Apple pencil?

  1. Yes!

    23 vote(s)
  2. Get the iPad Pro 12 instead.

    4 vote(s)
  3. Get a Microsoft product instead

    0 vote(s)
  4. No.

    1 vote(s)
  5. Get a scanner app for your iPhone 5 instead

    2 vote(s)
  1. Superspeed500 macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2013
    I am currently studying and I have so far used analog books to take notes in. That produces a lot of paper that I have to transfer over to my Mac. That's a lot of work and a lot of paper!

    I don't like to take notes on laptops as it blocks my vision and the fact that I am a slow typer. So I do therfor have few questions regarding the iPad pro 9.7 inch:
    • How is the iPad Pro 9.7 + Apple pencil for note taking?
    • Is there any good note taking apps that allow for Apple pencil and provides an easy way to transfer them to my computers?
    • How long use time can I get with the iPad and pencil?
    • How diffrent is the Apple pencil from regular pencils?

    Thanks for answers :)
  2. tsang2320 macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2014
    Have been using the 12.9 version since day 1. Normal setup in lectures for me is PDF on the left, notability on the right. Mostly paperless now.

    Notability and Evernote for me. Notability can automatically backup notes to google drive and Dropbox if you wanna get the desktop app.

    Can't comment on 9.7 battery life.

    Going digital is pretty cool. You can easily cut a part of handwriting, make them larger or smaller and move them around to add things in between, etc.
  3. Kostas3000 macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    notability and pencil. The ultimate in note taking during lectures. I have a 12.9 iPad pro. I don't know how the smaller iPad pro feels in this type of one taking but the the 12.9 is GREAT
  4. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Jun 6, 2015
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    Scanner Pro
  5. ericwn macrumors 68000

    Apr 24, 2016
    We have many users on this forum who have discussed note taking in the past. Please browse the forum for these user experiences. As a pure note taking device an iPad is a bit on the expensive side, do you have any other uses for it? If not, I'll second the recommendation for a scanner app to use a phone to scan your existing papers in.
  6. Superspeed500 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2013
    My iPad 2 is too slow for me, so thats another reason for me too get a new iPad. I agree withou you that the cost is high for pure note taking, but I feel that I will be easier for me to store my notes in one app, rather than split into multiply PDF-files. Also is the iPhone 5 good enough for scanning in documents at the quallty of a regular scanner? I do not like bad scans.

    I will also look into the other post you mentioned.

    Edit: Added an option for scanner app in the poll.
  7. ericwn macrumors 68000

    Apr 24, 2016
    Of course an iPhone cannot fully compete with a good scanner, but the quality has come a long way. I use Scanbot (paid) for my scanning needs. It features OCR and I once appreciated the auto-upload feature into Evernote.
  8. MacDevil7334 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2011
    Austin TX
    Have been using my 9.7" Pro to take my work meeting notes for the last 6 months and it's wonderful. I use the GoodNotes app. It has great integration with the Apple Pencil. What's more, it lets me search for words within my handwritten note and lets me convert my notes to a text document (with reasonably good accuracy considering my messy handwriting). Those two features alone make it a fantastic tool for taking notes. Not having to carry around a bunch of paper is a nice bonus. I do occasionally wish I had the bigger canvas of the 12.9" model, but not often enough to make me want to put up with the increased size and weight of that device.
  9. RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2013
    I use my iPad 12.9 for lecturing (using a projector) and for note taking, and it's wonderful for that.

    An advantage the iPad has over paper, even scanning, is you can easily write in different colors, move things you've written around, import pdfs to write on, and erase perfectly. Some applications like Notability can even record a lecture as you're writing.

    I prefer the 12.9 inch iPad pro, even though it's a little unwieldy. My handwriting isn't the greatest, and it helps being able to write larger.

    Other people use the surface pro for that task, usually with OneNote. I don't care for the writing on the surface pro as much. As a result, I do have a laptop for typing papers and such (though some report they use the iPad pro for that as well).
  10. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    Wait, you mentioned that you're a slow typist. When presented with a weakness within yourself, the best thing to do is to remove said weakness, in this case strengthen your typing skills. Never work around a weakness, remove it instead.
  11. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Jun 6, 2015
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    For scans of printed photos, no. But for forms, receipts and such, yes it absolutely can. I think you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference on a phone or tablet screen. And ultimate image quality isn't really needed for notes anyway, is it?
  12. ericwn macrumors 68000

    Apr 24, 2016
    That's what I meant when I said the quality has come a long way. :)
    But you're right, most notes don't require the greatest image quality.
  13. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    OP, what field are you studying?

    You might like taking notes with the iPad and pencil in classes that go at a relaxed pace and are mostly words... But it can be pretty challenging in math/engineering subjects.

    It's 100% pen(cil)/paper in my calculus lectures, for example.
  14. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I would recommend the 12.9 iPad Pro. For just text one of the apps suggested above may be very good. Even Apple Notes is nice as it syncs to your Mac. I take more science and engineering notes, sometimes in the lab. I've tried a few different apps and have settled on Concepts. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it you can sketch experiments, annotate photographs of samples and such quickly. It supports layers and many kinds of pens and pencils and colors. It is vector based so it is easy to move things around.

    Quick is important. If the process is too time consuming you won't do it.

    I'd suggest setting some clear targets for yourself so you can see that this is a benefit to you or not. You might want to try this between semesters so you don't put your education at risk.

    You can go to an Apple Store and try out notetaking there for 20 minutes or so. That should give you a feel for it.

    The Apple Pencil is fantastic. Better than any stylus I've tried. Writing on the iPad is a little difficult as you don't feel the friction you do when using paper.

    One tip for you, in almost every app I've tried the experience with the Pencil is better if you zoom in a little.
  15. Superspeed500 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2013
    I partaly agree with that, but it takes time to improve computer typing. Also my computer screen blocks to much of vision. I do also prefer the "pen and paper" way of do things. It's also more silent in my opinion :3

    I have no plans to replace pencil and paper in my math classes. I have 4 subjects, one of them is math. I do not do math in the other subjects.

    My goals:
    • Make digital notes quickly while still using the "pencil and paper" way. I currently copy over my handwritten documents through a Pc scanner or by typing them over in Word (takes too long time!).
    • Cut down on the paper use. I have filled up about 2 writebooks with notes in half a year.
    • Avoid the pain with erasers.
    • Avoid the pain of traveling to the city center just to get more notebooks.
    I still plan to use analog notebooks for math and as backup in case of digital failure.
  16. SoN1NjA macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2016
    peanut farm
    Yes! The Smart Keyboard would be a better accesory
  17. Superspeed500 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2013
    I do not intend to use the iPad pro as a laptop replacement, but thanks for the input anyways.
  18. SoN1NjA macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2016
    peanut farm
    Yeah I realized that yesterday, too late though
  19. Lisat78 macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2015
    Have you considered Nebo? We've been playing with it on our iPP and it's incredible. I have a SP3 with SP and the handwriting-to-text conversion from Nebo was much, much better—much to my surprise. I believe it also handles formulas and equations too; the app is free, but you can only use it with the iPP and Pencil. You can of course choose to leave your notes as purely handwritten, or conversely type.

    Only downside: your notes are stored within the app and exported either (if memory serves) as either plain text or images/pdfs. However, the app is comparatively new so there's hope the developer will add proper cloud support at some stage.
  20. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    I took digital notes for Math - back then I was using a Samsung Windows 8 tablet in OneNote, but I still write out equations and notes in OneNote on the iPad.

    Overall, the iPad (either size) is AMAZING for note taking. I use OneNote (so I can sync across platforms) and it's incredible!

    I am almost completely paperless (I collect antique/rare/autographed books) thanks to devices like the iPad Pro and Surface Pro!

    Further Edit: I LOVED digital note taking for my masters program. I'm still taking classes I find interesting and using the iPad and Pencil for taking notes (as well as meetings at work and conferences).
  21. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    I never use a dedicated scanner any more as the 12MP camera is more than sufficient for scanning documents.

    My only issue within using a phone or tablet for scanning is that the lightening is often blocked when you hold the device directly over the document, but app software tries to compensate for that.
  22. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    I use OfficeLens - great for White boards AND it integrates right into OneNote!
  23. yaxomoxay macrumors 68020


    Mar 3, 2010
    I have been using the 12.9" for several months now, and it changed my life. I am virtually using it for everything now. It greatly helped me taking care of *five* courses while working full time (and with a family) this past semester. How? Wunderlist+PDF Expert+Notability+Safari. All in one place, at the same time. No weight, no physical books or notes forgotten at home etc., nothing lost. All in time thanks to Wunderlist, all organized.
    I am also using it to study chess, and it's helping me greatly. ebook on the left, digital chessboard on the right. However, for chess I am also analog as I have to use flash cards in a certain way, and I need to flip through several Chess Informant and or encyclopedias pretty quick.
  24. markovchain macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2015
    i sold my ipp 12.9" after a few months. It isn't good writing experience on the iPad.

    You could type your paper notes. It helps learning.

Share This Page