Muji notebooks grid display of notebooks and notes is well suited to a visual thinker. The image reminds me of what notebook I want without stopping to read. Its very subtle, but when I have to switch processing modes from seeing to reading, I am for a brief moment stunned as I switch processing modes.
notesPlus shows me this information with a pop-up list. Yes the image is there. It also has textual information which, subtly and honestly takes me momentarily away from seeing. Much prefer the straightforward grid arrangement in Muji Notes.
notesPlus has so many other wonderful and well thought out interface moments: the two finger touch for text boxes, the awareness built in to the microphone for sound annotations, the popup boxes for tool settings. Copy and paste, essential, is missing but promised.
SmartNote is ambitious but, silly again as this, seems forces me to stop and read the interface before using it. Everything is otherwise two, perhaps three touches deep. But it does everything I think a sketchbook-like app should do. I would prefer a way to set the default text to something else. The undo button is practically invisible. The eraser, once again, is two clicks deep and without the chance to set a default. Why make me choose every time?
I think I’ll be using notesPlus as the default for a while, and wait patiently for the copy and paste ability. The whole of the iPad is the journal.
Breaking away from the physical Book is a rethink. The book is immediate, it is sequential, I don’t have to think about the interface tools, it can record whatever you can put into it.
The ideal sketchbook app would keep the metaphor of pages and sequence. I should be able to go left to find an overview, a grid of visuals of the note pages relative to the page I am on, and also go left again to the top level of the closed book, and perhaps see a grid view of the books I am keeping – though I keep only one journal at a time.
The sketchbook needn’t have a full range of drawing and painting tools, but I should be able to tap and go to my preferred painting app and do work there, and link it back, copy and paste, or live links into the sketchbook location.
I’d also like to have apps have the ability to load a bookmark onto the iPad home screen. Pages should be able to save a bookmark, like Safari can, to the iPads screen so I can drop right into the document I want to work on without going through the interface process of switching and finding.
Update September 24 2011
This post continues to get hits from iPad forums, so I’ll just note here I’ve broken down and downloaded Noteshelf. Great note taking app. I’d say that if you need to type any notes, because, like mine, your handwriting is horrible, then Notes Plus is still the best choice. Penultimate is still fast and flexible for my one or two word scrawls. I’m certain that others get far more intensive use out of it. It wouldn’t still be on the bestseller list if it didn’t serve. The price is right. Noteshelf is Penultimate on steroids. If either of them took text from a keyboard… that would be a steel cage match.