iPad viable option as note taking device?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by BowTheMan89, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. BowTheMan89 macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2011
    I'm starting law school in the fall, I own a MBP 15in, but am strongly considering buying an iPad. I ride a bike to class and even the weight of th MBP at my side is uncomfortable.

    I was wondering if anyone uses an iPad as a note taking device, and if so are there any accessories that improve the process (dock/keyboard etc..)
  2. azure247 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2008
    You wont see anyone in graduate school using an ipad to take notes. In pharmacy school, everyone is 'required' to have a laptop. You need to multi-task and that cannot be done on ipad.
  3. eclipseblur954 macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2011
    I use my iPad for notes every time, its MUCH easier than carrying around the MBP. The best part is now with iCloud all of the notes sync automatically, it comes in handy when you take all your notes on your iPad, put everything away and your teacher tells you an extra note to write down and all you have to do is add it to the same note on your iPhone
  4. boy-better-know macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2010
    You wouldn't be able to give up your macbook. Some people like taking notes on iPad, some don't.
    Personally I hate it. I take notes with pen and paper and do work on my macbook/iMac. I use my iPad for pleasure and travel. Never for education. Well sometimes I send an email or two that is work relevant and read PDF's on my iPad. But thats it.
  5. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    There aren't any good hand written note taking apps because the minute you put your palm on the screen, all bets are off. Some apps try, but the iPad is not a good hand written notes taker.

    You can pair a bluetooth keyboard. Apple has a nice portable one, and there is at least one case I've seen that has a built in keyboard. Taking notes with this arrangement is very similar to the laptop experience.

    As for the "multi tasking" comment, I cannot comment on that. The iPad doesn't have the ability to run many apps that run on Macs or Windows PCs, so you need to determine what apps you absolutely have to have. For example, you can use QuickOffice Pro HD for some basic Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs, but the experience is nowhere near a real laptop. I can make do in a pinch, but for serious document editing you need the real thing. If there are any specialized apps your program requires you to use, or systems you have to access that require Internet Explorer or a VPN, that may be a problem.

    But as a note taker, the iPad is just as good as any laptop one you pair a keyboard with it.
  6. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    Also something I've been considering.

    Can someone tell me if I can do this on ipad:

    - Highlight text or makes notes on pdf files, equivalent to a underlining/highlighting text on a paper book.
  7. jman240 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    My favorite app for doing this in school, Noterize, was bought by nuance and removed from the app store so bollocks to that. I really liked that app too.
  8. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
  9. MasterHowl macrumors 65816


    Oct 3, 2010
    North of England
    I study Geology and use my iPad to take notes in some lectures. I take my Apple bluetooth keyboard with me to type. Very quick and easy :)
  10. JohnCalif macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Southern California
    I have an iPad with a wireless keyboard, and it is just as good for notes as the MBP. However, if you take notes on the MBP in class, you also have the option of embellishing your notes when you get home and things are still fresh in your mind using voice recognition software, Dragon Dictate.
  11. blastair macrumors regular


    Mar 11, 2009
    My experience

    I tried a semester-long experiment a couple years ago (with the first iPad). I used the iPad as my sole computing device. (English major, FYI.) There were some things that I loved about the iPad, some that I didn't. The form factor is a dream for school, as is the battery life, reading capability, etc.

    As for notes, it sort of depends on your note taking style. If you are a concise note-taker, then it should be fine. My notes are all pretty much sentence fragments, so it worked. It wasn't as fast by any means. I did enjoy not having a screen between me and the professor; it's almost like having an open laptop creates a psychological barrier or something. I never got an external keyboard, because that seemed to defeat the purpose of the iPad's simplicity to me. I try to keep what I carry around to a minimum, and having two loose objects in my bag seems more complex than just carrying around a laptop.

    Formatting pretty much sucks, and copy/pasting can be frustrating. With that being said, I was just barely thinking that I would probably buy the latest iPad if I had a couple semesters of school left. For me, the positives outweighed the negatives.
  12. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    I have iPads, MBP's and MBA's. For note taking I vastly prefer a laptop.

    I've tried four of the best iPad keyboards available and all of the them are nothing but a compromise at best.

    After using a laptop, typing on an aftermarket iPad keyboard is slow and uncomfortable.

    But then again, I'm a very fast typist. Those who have no need for speed and can live with the mistakes caused by shallow key travel and odd spacing, may find iPad keyboards acceptable.
  13. jman240 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I haven't seen one that did all that noterize could do. Import a power point and write notes all over it was what I mainly used it for. I also own Penaultimate and while its really nice, it didn't support typed notes last I checked. The nice thing about noterize was you could make typed notes or do handwritten and much more. Notes could be free form or in moveable boxes.

    Most of the note apps assume you want to create all the content and don't offer many options to import outside content to add to.

    Side note: I've heard that PDFPen is great for PDF annotations.
  14. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    Well that sucks. I just want to be able to highlight parts of pdfs and scribble notes as I read.

    This looks doable I guess. No handwriting it seems. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CfWhH7xBQA

    Or this too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fSA5pZ8Kgw
  15. BowTheMan89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2011
  16. MR1324 macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2010
    nope, ipad is just going to make your note taking more inconvenient and ineffective. stick with the laptop because those extra lbs. mean more than just extra weight. i would actually consider getting a smaller laptop like the 13 mba if weight really is an issue. you get the benefits of the laptop with the weight benefits of an ipad.
  17. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    I wonder if Apple has considered a MBA tablet.
  18. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    They have. It's called the iPad.
  19. seajay96 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    I'm working on my Masters in Education and last year participated in a graduate level program in geopolitics in Paris. I use(d) my iPad exclusively for notetaking. I take most of my notes in Notetaker HD using a Kensington virtuoso stylus. Notetaker doesn't present a palm problem for me because I use the zoom window to enter all of my notes.

    I also use Evernote to organize my handwritten note with web clips, pictures, etc.

    For reading, annotating and highlighting PDFs, I use Goodreader. For writing papers and presentations, I start with Pages and Keynote but do heavy formatting and proof reading on my iMac.

    I've also started to experiment with textbooks on the iPad but I'm not yet convinced.
  20. joshuaginter macrumors regular

    May 19, 2011
    If I'm not mistaken, Goodreader does a great job at what you're asking for here.


    I'm a History student and I use my iPad for notes. I just use the touch screen to type. I like not having the ability to multi-task - eliminates Safari distractions! And battery life trumps.
  21. appleisler, Mar 8, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

    appleisler macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2010
    Hobart, Australia
    I like to handwrite notes from lectures - something about listening and handwriting makes things stick in my brain - even though I type faster than I write and many many many years ago at law school, I used to type notes in lectures onto my laptop.

    Now I use NotesPlus to handwrite notes and before that Notetaker HD - both programs are really good. I have the original iPad and I am expecting the extra power in the new iPad 3 to help these programs work even better. I switched to notes plus because for an extra in-app purchase of a couple of bucks it will also convert handwriting to text.

    All my notes are synced via dropbox so they are available on all my devices.

    My course notes (not for law school - I'm studying finance now) are PDFs and I read, highlight and annotate them using good reader also synced via dropbox.

    I also mark up charts in PDF workbooks using GoodReader.

    It can definitely be done, it just depends on whether your prefer to write or type and on what kind of keyboard. If you don't want to handwrite and you don't care about battery life then an 11" macbook air gives you a traditional laptop setup and OsX for not much more weight or space. I have one because I cannot run my charting software except through windows but mostly I prefer my iPad.

    Given you already have a MBP then its worth giving an iPad a trial - you can always return or resell it if you don't like it. You will probably develop a workflow for study that uses both.
  22. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010

    So what's the people's favorite stylus here (for the iPad specifically).

    Also does goodreader(or any preferred software for handwritten notes) detect your palm and ignore that touch if you use a stylus with your hand resting on the screen?
  23. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    Caved in, the 3rd gen ipad should be here next week. :D I'll report on all these questions soon.
  24. paulbee macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2011
    The new iPad will be my first iPad, but I've been taking lecture notes successfully on an HP Touchpad, which has a considerably worse keyboard than the iPhone 4 does, at least. You won't go as quickly as on a computer keyboard, and you won't be able to write as much during a lecture, but in at least some contexts this is actually a good thing: you have to do a little bit of processing to figure out what's important enough to take down, which keeps you engaged (you aren't just transcribing on autopilot), and you still have time to write down what's important. I take my notes directly into EverNote, which is absolutely great since I can get them anywhere, including over the web, and can tag and search with ease.

    I'm thinking about getting a keyboard because I plan for the iPad to be my main mobile device (I'll get rid of my laptop and switch to iPad + desktop), and I need to be able to work on writing papers while I'm out of the house. But even if I do pick up a keyboard, I don't expect I'll use it for notetaking. Typing on a screen during a lecture really isn't bad.
  25. jman240 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    DocAS looks neat, very close to what Noterize was. Apparently I can still download Noterize for the time being since it shows up in iCloud purchases...

    You may also want to look into this http://www.smilesoftware.com/PDFpen/iOS/index.html

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