iPad vs notebook

Discussion in 'iPad' started by username:, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. username: macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2013
    the more things change, the more they stay the same...

    So after half a century of amazing progress in computing technology, the latest device from the biggest company in the world is celebrated for having what? Virtual reality? 3D Touch? Next generation AI? No... We are all amazed by a pencil.

    It is something we already do every day with real pencils and paper. It is hard not to emphasise the humour in it. The reason the Apple Pencil is so amazing apparently is because it is uncannily similar to a REAL PENCIL. Samsung and MS have styli that are good, but not quite as good. They do the job, but Apple took it next level.

    So all this progress, just to do handwriting on a tablet. What are the benefits? Personally I don't believe that handwriting has any long term benefits over typing. Apparently there was research done that indicated handwriting supports better memory storage of information. I don't believe that is true. The new generation I believe are mostly typing. Will we still need handwriting in the future? Is handwriting essential for maths and science? Is there any way to not use handwriting for mathematical notes?

    But okay, enough of that waffle. My main question is, what are the pros and cons of a paper handwritten notebook over a handwritten notebook on the iPad Pro?
  2. Nhwhazup macrumors 68020


    Sep 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
  3. Ghost31 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2015
    Uh...a lot

    -Having everything in one place
    -Not having to buy notebooks and pencils
    -being able to go back and erase things and change notes
    -being able to mix a lot of elements together in your notes like clickable links, pictures, lists, highlighting, audio recordings, etc
    -being able to easily share notes with others

    I don't know why anybody would use paper if given the choice. Years from now, I doubt they will
  4. Cascades42 macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2016
    This, and also for me: being able to annotate documents without printing. I frequently get PDFs and the idea is you print, fill out, scan, and upload. This used to mean waiting until I had printer access, and then needing scanner access, which limited the time I had to work on things. Now I can just download the PDFs, annotate them, and upload without thinking about it. Plus I have all documents in one place - which is very convenient and beats carrying around notepads, folders and pencil cases.
  5. sjleworthy, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    sjleworthy macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2008
    Penarth, Wales, UK
    Suppose its a similar question to reading books on a device compared to real books. Personally in this respect i much much prefer real books and magazines. Just love having and holding them. Cant get used to the concept of reading books on a tablet of any kind.

    As for writing, scribbling and sketching? As an artist you can imagine a pen and pencil is part of my make up. Always always have one in my hands. But with the advent of the Pro a few months ago i've put my traditional tools to bed. For me a big part of going digital was a concern of speed - the phone goes or i need to make an instant note or scribble a text. Using a paper and pad was a natural thing to do and as fast as you can get.
    But I now find the ipad is always next to me with my Pencil in the working day, and Notability is always open with a regular digital note page active. If the phone goes and i need to take fast emergency notes the ipad is instantly there ready. Maybe just 1 click away. In other words, as quick and as natural as picking up a biro and writing things.

    And of course, the digital note pad is full editable and stored away in the device. And i can import my phots and sketchovers and doddles into my pad as well and email/print pages out for my collegues if wanted.

    These are all pros. My biggest most single con? Even though handwriting is a natural process and a natural looking thing, writing on a sheet of glass isnt condusive to your regular style. So many people complain of crap handwriting when on a tablet. This is the same for me. For whatever reason my usual neatness isnt anywhere near the same writing on glass compared to the tactilness of paper.

    Does it beat real paper and pad? Well thats up to you of course.

    For me as an artist, notes, doodling, sketching and brief taking is perfect. No going back. Saying that, i still like my pencil and watercolour pad for real painting.
  6. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    and lets not forget , since we dont use the paper a lot anymore, we save the trees, so a big step for environment as well
  7. Rhonindk macrumors 68040


    Electronic access provided you use an app like Evernote

    Pencil is expensive - you can buy a lot notebooks
    Pencil is not the sturdiest
    You can pdf your hand written notes and still have easy electronic access via a phone camera app

    For right now, stick with the notebook. The Pencil needs a bit of evolution, better durability, and a cost reduction.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The biggest benefit I see, is accessing the information. In a traditional paper notebook (as opposed to a computer notebook ;) ) you have to find the specific portion of text by paging thought it.

    I use notebooks for work, mostly for intermediate type notes, that I know I won't need after a few months. Still paging back to find something can be a pain.

    With a tablet, and the right software, the information is never lost. The problem only increases when you need to transition to new notebooks
  9. username: thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2013
    The choice is money, convenience and ease of use.

    Is taking notes on the iPad Pro really worth £1000? Organised people can carry a single paper notebook around.

    - there is no danger of damaging it. Who cares if it scratches or drops?
    - how can I walk into a meeting holding a $100 pencil, when everyone else is holding a $1 biro to do the same thing?
    "Oh what does that do?"
    " you mean like my $1 biro?"
    "... Yeah"
    "What's the point?"
    "Well, I can change the colour of my handwriting later if I want"
    "Oh... Cool.."

    - it is orders of magnitude cheaper
    - you can open it and scribble in it straight away
    - you can still have the digital notebook, but you also have the handwritten one as well. It's like having two tablets.

    I'm still not seeing the major pro of taking notes with the pencil. I completely understand using it for art, but for notes? None of the reasons given are compelling.
  10. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    I don't think anyone is suggesting it is a must-have for note taking. But it is a nice to have.

    If an app converts handwriting to text then that means it can be indexed and searched which can be a big benefit be a stack of papers
  11. Beavix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2010
    I wished I had something like the iPad Pro when I was in college. I have many kilos of notebooks and papers I used for note taking. Replacing them with one device I could carry around wasn't even a dream back then. It was Star Trek. Typing everything on a laptop wasn't an option because we also had to make lots of drawings, electrical circuits, math stuff... You can't do this in real time in class using a keyboard and a mouse.

    And I don't know about others but for quick note taking for me the handwriting is still more efficient than typing because I can quickly jump anywhere on the page with the pencil, make corrections, add something, highlight words, point an arrow somewhere...
  12. sjleworthy, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    sjleworthy macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2008
    Penarth, Wales, UK
    Is it worth a grand purely for notes? Heck no. Thats a rediculous concept. (Unless you like that concept of course)

    But i doubt anyone buys it purely for notes. Ipad is a whole lot more obviously. And, as you allude to just up there, people dont mock and pish take like that. Of course no one is dopey enough to think you spent a grand on an ipad and a ton on a fancy pencil purely for notes :p The only doubt is your worrys and lack of confidence when people see you note taking with it.

    the ipad/Pencil and hefty cost is as beneficial to the artist as it is to the note taker. It's a subjective issue you must decide upon.
    Is it expensive? Is it worth it? Again. Subjective. You'll get a 1000 different opinions depending on people's wealth, lack of it, or moral standing. You choose.

    I use mine for notes all day. It's fantastic. But it's also an ipad that gives me so much more of course.
    There's no way, personally, on God's earth i'd consider and ipad and Pencil for nothing other than note taking.
  13. Cassady macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    And when that notebook gets filled up, where does it go? What do you do with it?

    Sure. The organised soul has 1 notebook, and some 'system' that means they know where stuff is. But if you fill up 5/6 notebooks a year, what then?

    So when you're sitting in that meeting, and ask that person with the £1 Biro what was said by so-and-so about this-and-that in that meeting in the 3rd quarter last, and they say "oh sorry, I don't have that notepad/notebook with me right now...let me just pop up to my office to get it" -- and returns 10 minutes later when everything has moved on, or has some random, cryptic phrase that was an attempt to summarise what was said - I know I'd prefer to be the one that has all of that with me, within a few taps (possibly with synced audio included), so I can actually plug in an earpiece and HEAR what was said...
  14. sflomenb macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2011
    As a student, I take notes every day in class. Most of my Computer Science classes I type my notes. Others, like math, can only be taken by handwriting them. I currently have an Air 1 with Boxwave mesh stylus. I've used Notability to take notes since 2014 and I've loved it. This will be even better with my iPad Pro 9.7" and Pencil.

    You ask why is it better than regular pencil and paper? Many reasons. Using this app, I have all of my Notes on iCloud and all of my devices. I can take them using my iPad and then review them on my iPhone or MacBook. I can quickly change colors of the pen/pencil I am using on screen. And I don't need a different notebook for each class. All of my notes from almost the past two years are all on my iPad and I can reference them at any time.

    Edit: forgot to mention, in class there are many times where the professor draws something for one problem and then does a quick modification to it for a different one. Normally I would have to just draw the entire picture again. But electronically, I can just draw a circle around the picture, copy and paste it, and make the appropriate modification.
  15. Osty macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AU
    That's robbing Peter to pay Paul. The overall environmental impact of manufacturing an iPad and everything in its supply chain its orders of magnitude greater than paper and pencils
  16. StPatty33 macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2009
    If I wasn't a graphic designer who lives around the technology of the pencil, then no, it wouldn't be a big deal to me. As I am, it is. That's why it's called "Pro". For professionals. People that use the pencil. If you aren't using this for work, then chill out and wait til September when the 'play' ones are updated.
  17. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    Say you want to draw and colour something. An iPad Pro and a stylus would be more convenient and less messy vs fiddling with a lot of colour pencils and paint.

    But I guess it's really the ease of storage and sharing. I presume the files would be backed up to some cloud storage, so you could show your friends your work from say, your phone or another laptop even if you don't have your books with you.
  18. Three141 macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2016
    I don't believe stylus addition makes it a pro, it usually goes to Apple's top spec devices in that category.

    Although I'm a Microsoft person, it's easy to see the benefits of the iPad pro devices and I am considering getting one for my professional qualification depending on how good the OneNote integration is.

    Digital access to notes and being able to record as well as write draw edit is worth its weight in convenience.
  19. mrex macrumors 68030


    Jul 16, 2014
    im a scientist and use lots of symbols, equations, sketches... and that would be quite time consuming without a possibility to use a pencil. i know there are softwares like latex/chemsketch/office has a equation editor etc.. but just drawing a short chemical reaction using e.g. chemsketch takes alot of time. then adding text, arrows, notes around it... i would be in the beginning if using a notebook while others are already in the end and moving further...

    when i studied i used paper+pencil.. nowadays i would buy a tablet for taking notes, and hence i would probably buy surface pro - it can hadle all that you need. today im using my Note10.1 and air2 when writing notes having lots of sketches/equations. it takes less time than doing the same with a computer... sketching with a mouse? :D yea right! if i do presentations im using note/ipad to do sketches but then my laptop to build the actual presentation.

    if i didnt have gadgets i have now, i would buy surface pro - without hesitating...
  20. jeremiah256 macrumors 65816


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    At almost all the meetings I attend, there is supplemental information. Maybe it’s a PowerPoint brief, a document in Word or PDF format, email chains that extend several pages. All available, and can make notes right on the documents. Sometimes we need to reference a past discussion, search a reference manual, research questions, etc. All done from one device. Even without connectivity, I can download every possible manual we might need, every reference, every past draft of a presentation and search through those documents with ease. And we haven't even touched on the vast amount of apps available, like scanning apps to capture that document that no one had, the camera to take pictures of the whiteboards, and ability to send out the meeting notes immediately.

    A tablet is an incredible tools.
  21. username: thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2013
    After all these years... We still need a pencil... Is the stylus here to stay? Is it essential to the future of using computers?
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    For tablets, the stylus is provides a level of precision the finger never was able to achieve. On desktop computers styluses have a very niche role, on tablets I'd say that role is further expanded.

    I know a number of people who choose the Galaxy Note, just because it has a stylus.
  23. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    There are two specific uses for my Pencil.
    The first is annotating the PowerPoint-pdf's that I get before each college so I can annotate them. Some print them and write with pen/pencil on them. Others have the pdf's and a word document side by side on their 13" laptop, where they make notes.
    I prefer to have them in 1 PDF and write my notes on top of them. Sometimes adding a lined page when there is a lot to tell about one sheet. That saves about 50 pages per week of print. Then there is the 250 page jurisprudence that I need to read, mark and annotate per 4 weeks.
    And another 1000 pages of textbook that is also digital available per 4 weeks. Reading on the iPP 12.9 is much easier, efficient and practical then reading them on my MacBook Pro.
    So it saves me about 1500 pages of print every 4 weeks.

    The second use is at work, where I review the work from junior's as well. They email me a PDF and I write my notes directly on top, which works wonderful. I need to write a bit slower to make it better readable (which has the advantage that I have more time to think about it and write better comments).

    So in a busy week the iPad Pro & pencil might save me around 700 pages of printed A4. Not insignificant.
    Another thing to consider is that the first 6 years of this job created around 360 4"/10cm files with A4 paper. And that was being economical with the space and not filing every letter, note etc. Just the important reports, documents and contracts.
    The next 10 years are all in my iPad Pro and still not weighting more then when it was empty. When I get to a client, I have 10 years of history with every email, note, document, snippet of information and contract at the tip of my (Apple) Pencil. That keeps some discussions very short, prevents back problems and is easier to keep safe.

    So even for some non-artist uses, there might be a real, useful, valid use case for the Pencil.
  24. StPatty33 macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2009
    As far as I'm concerned the pencil is in no way meant for daily navigation (as in, a stylus). It's meant for doing tasks that require a pencil to feel more natural--drawing, marking up notes, etc.
  25. friedmud macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    3000 years ago: "Why did you invent paper? Chiseling things into rocks and carving them into cave walls works just fine!"

    As a student that uses his Apple Pencil everyday I can tell you that it is a huge leap forward in the storage and retrieval of human knowledge.

    As others have mentioned: even 15 years from now very few people will still be writing on dead trees. The Pencil IS that good. A few student-cycles from now (~8 years) most people will be writing their notes electronically. It is vastly superior!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 27, 2016 ---
    I don't ever use mine as a "stylus". It's for writing and drawing.... two things you don't want to do with your finger.

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