Apple’s Notes is being revamped, but online rivals already exist
Out of all the announcements made at WWDC 2015, Notes was the one that got us properly excited. The existing app is extremely basic, merely providing the means to jot down bits of text and the odd link, all of which automatically syncs between your devices via iCloud. However, come El Capitan, everything changes: you’ll be able to embed images and videos; URLs will be converted into clickable buttons that show thumbnails from the websites in question; you’ll be able to integrate maps; and it’ll be possible to create checklists in seconds, for interactive to-dos. In addition to all of this, an attachments browser will give you a great at-a-glance view of the various photos, videos, maps and URLs you’ve added, without you having to comb through all of your notes.
But as much as we liked what Apple had to say, we couldn’t shake the feeling that the new Notes sounded an awful lot like a kind of Evernote Lite. If you haven’t used Evernote (from free, evernote.com) before, it’s essentially a dumping ground for anything you want to stash for later, including photos, web articles, handwritten notes, and bits of audio. Like the upcoming Notes revamp, you can create task lists to keep yourself organised. Evernote further boosts productivity by providing the means to set reminders for any note, and to assign tags to make them easier to retrieve later.
A big advantage of Evernote over Apple’s Notes is wider platform support. Along with being available for OS X and iOS, Evernote has clients for Android, Windows and BlackBerry, along with making everything fully accessible online. The snag is the free version is a bit restrictive. You get only 60MB of uploads per month, and cannot access notes when offline. Pay £19.99 per year and you get 1GB of uploads per month, offline notebooks, and the ability to save emails into Evernote. For £34.99, uploads become unlimited and you can turn notes into presentations, use PDF annotation tools, and digitise business cards. By the time you reach that point, you’re heading into the realm of business, but Evernote’s probably a better bet there than Notes will ever be.
Evernote may well feel like a ‘pro’ version of Apple’s Notes once El Capitan is here.