While there is no shortage of to-do lists or note taking apps on the App Store, it isn’t always easy to jump from one app to another and still stay productive. NoteSuite features note taking, task management, PDF viewing and annotation, and Office document management all in a single app, creating one digital briefcase of sorts.
I had the chance to meet Peter Tamte of Theory.io during WWDC week in San Francisco and see a preview of NoteSuite in person. Peter’s demonstration was very impressionable and left me with one particular thought: NoteSuite is entering a saturated app market, but should thrive as it does a few key things better than its competition.
Continue reading for specific thoughts and observations as I unpack the features of NoteSuite.
In Theory.io’s own words, NoteSuite offers the following set of features and functionality:
- Capture Anything: Type, make lists, take photos, record audio, and capture to-dos collectively within notes pages. The iPad version also lets users draw and handwrite directly on notes pages.
- Clip Web Pages: Save clutter-free, fully searchable articles, shopping pages, recipes, and PDFs directly from the web into the app to enjoy anytime, anywhere – even offline.
- Manage To-dos: Track due dates and start dates, set reminders, and match to-dos and projects with relevant notes and documents using comprehensive to-do management features.
- Annotate PDFs: Markup, highlight, sign, fill out forms, type, draw freehand, write, and more on iPad using the PDF capabilities.
- Annotate Anything: Convert MS Office and Apple iWork documents to PDF on iPad, draw or type directly on photos, and convert PowerPoint slides into notes pages for note taking during meetings and lectures.
- Read and Search Documents: Read and search Word docs, PowerPoint files, PDFs, notes, web clips, and to-dos.
- Find Things That Aren’t Organized: Find notes, Word docs, PDFs, and PowerPoint files even if they haven’t been tagged or filed in folders, and without having to remember keywords.
- Sync Across Devices: Tapping one button allows users to sync their data automatically via iCloud from that point forward, without creating a new account or remembering more passwords.
Quite a comprehensive feature set, right? The most compelling draw to NoteSuite, for me, is its ability to offer note taking, task management, PDF annotating, and file management all in a single app. What that means for me is learning a single interface for a number of essential features and functionality.
This is especially useful for iPad users who might not have the time or patience to learn three or four different applications for managing to dos, taking notes, and handling PDFs. Personally, I’ve spent a great deal of time teaching family and friends how to use the iPad for more than consumption, and PDF apps can often be the trickiest to understand when they snag up or hit compatibility issues.
I found NoteSuite’s annotation functionality mighty impressive. Mark up an item or scribble in a doodle and the annotation scrolls right with the rest of the content. Rearrange your text and NoteSuite respects your annotations as you would expect (but maybe not as you’ve previously experienced).
Using NoteSuite on the iPad creates sort of a weird sensation. It offers the same usefulness of using a notepad and voice recorder, but with tagging and search included. And it’s the ease-of-use that creates the sensation. Because all this functionality is packed into a single app, you avoid the distracting animations and extra work of app switching.
Here’s the thing. You could collect a number of apps that do the same thing as NoteSuite and drop them in a collective folder, but the all-in-one experience of NoteSuite is the most compelling factor. And Theory.io takes pride in offering your data on your device without a subscription or extra purchase. Your data is your data. Simple as that.
NoteSuite has a solid application for the Mac as well. Shipping a Mac app alongside its iPad app impresses me in that it shows respect for the Macintosh. This makes NoteSuite that much more useful. iCloud manages the syncing (and it works, Theory.io made sure of that) allowing you to access and edit your files and lists just like on the iPad, save for annotation (the iPad is a much more natural device for drawing anyway).
NoteSuite’s price point on both platforms surprised me by how aggressively low it is considering its feature set.
NoteSuite for iPad is available for just $1.99 (seriously, note taking, task managing, voice recording, PDF annotating, document managing, and more for just two bucks); NoteSuite for Mac (which features a better web clipping experience thanks to OS X) is priced at just $4.99.
Just seven bucks for the whole suite until July 15 when iPad and Mac return to their regular price points of $4.99 and $9.99, respectively.
NoteSuite raises the bar for productivity on the iPad and Mac. I can highly recommend NoteSuite to anyone wanting to use the iPad to simply get more done. Check it out for yourself before the introductory price ends.