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Summary:

As a writer, I find having a notebook on hand very useful. Long ago, that used to mean carrying around a bulky paper volume and a pen, which was somewhat awkward and not the most space conservative solution. I moved on to a Palm Pilot, which […]

notebookAs a writer, I find having a notebook on hand very useful. Long ago, that used to mean carrying around a bulky paper volume and a pen, which was somewhat awkward and not the most space conservative solution. I moved on to a Palm Pilot, which was marginally better, but that usually still meant dragging out the old IR wireless keyboard, too. Despite its amazing folding abilities, that keyboard still took up more space than the paper notebook.

Finally, after so many years of fumbling with any number of clumsy devices, both high and low tech, the iPhone came around and brought with it the prospect of ditching those cumbersome things once and for all. The built-in iPhone Notes app offered basic utility, but the iPhone 2.0 firmware brought with it the promise of better, more robust third party apps. Notebook ($4.99, App Store), from developer Appigo, is one such app.

photo1Appigo Notebook allows you to go well beyond the options available in Notes. Your notes are organized under Notebooks, hence the title, which you can create, edit, and delete. Above your list of notebooks are two permanent master categories, All and Unfiled. All give you access to any note, regardless of category, and Unfiled contains notes not attached to any specific notebook.

You can also change note formatting, including font type and size, which is good, because I absolutely hated the default Trebuchet option. Rotation is supported, as is landscape typing, which is a big plus in a note app, since the extra screen real estate it affords works well with my meaty thumbs.

photo-1Autotext entries come in handy, allowing you to insert things like the date, time, or bullets. Any note can also be marked as private, which, depending on which settings you select, could make it invisible, password protected, or masked. I don’t know what nefarious purposes you mights use this for, being far too virtuous to need this kind of thing.

I can already hear you all asking, “Yes, but does it sync?”. In fact, it does, and with Toodledo.com, no less. A Toodledo.com account is free, and I prefer it to desktop syncing, for the same reason I prefer Remember the Milk to Things: your synced information is available anywhere. It also supports searching the fulltext content of your notes for keywords, which is also useful once you start accumulating a ton of information. And if you have Appigo’s other iPhone app, Todo, you can create a new task from a note’s contents using the share button.

Really, Appigo Notebook is as fully featured a note-taking app as I could ask for on the iPhone/iPod touch, short of supporting text-to-speech dictation, which isn’t something I’d probably use that much anwyay. I can finally put the pad and pen to rest, hopefully for good this time.

  1. This sounds great overall, but I wish it synced with Google Docs. I’d prefer not to create yet another account (however free it is). If they added other sync options, particularly Google, I’d be all over this.

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  2. Good article. I’ve been looking for this kind of functionality myself.

    I notice however that neither the iTunes write-up on the app nor this review are really that clear about the syncing. In both places, syncing is mentioned and Toodledo.com is as well, but it’s not explicitly stated that one can sync with the desktop, only with the web. is it possible to use this thing without syncing to the Internet with Toodledo?

    The last thing I want is another account with another service to remember, and I don’t like the idea of having my notes on the Internet at all. I am getting used to the idea of having my finished documents on the web, but notes are sometimes private, sometimes non-PC and often very personal. My day to day scribblings and ideas are the very last thing that I would want to have compromised on the web.

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  3. I like their two apps and I think it’s great they offer online sync. I just prefer syncing with Things desktop and Evernote desktop. Old school I guess.

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  4. I do like the look of that Home screen though…

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  5. Actually, Evernote syncs with the cloud, not with the desktop app. I wish Things would move to this model.

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  6. “and I prefer it to desktop syncing, for the same reason I prefer Remember the Milk to Things: your synced information is available anywhere.”

    Unless there is no internet connection, which is why I prefer Things to RTM. Goes both ways.

    (that’s actually a lie, I also prefer Things because it’s more beautiful, easier to use, more powerful, etc. etc.)

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  7. @jack: The sheer beauty of Things will make it pretty hard for me to ever even want to try a different todo app.

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  8. @Gazoobee: Yes, you can use Notebook without using Toodledo. Notebook does not require a network connection at all. The online synchronization is just offered as a bonus for those who want access to their notes from additional places.

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  9. ‘Things’ is decent but i switched to ‘Tasks’ and am very happy with the app. I use both it and the inbuilt ‘Notes’ app daily and they’re both free….

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  10. Greg Kinderling Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    You know I tried a lot of notes apps, including Notebook, but I felt Simplenote was the easiest and fastest. I don’t need all the fancy font formatting stuff, just good straight up note taking ability.

    Simplenote’s fortes are its elegant webapp which I can access anywhere, and its magical sync abilities which happen instantaneously and in the background. It’s priced cheaper than Notebook, at $1.99, too.

    http://www.simplenoteapp.com

    – GK

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