Being productive with Notability on the iPad Pro

My iPad experience has been one of many facets this past couple of years. From my experimenting with the 12.9″ version, then using the latest iPad 9.7″ and then to the iPad Pro 10.5″, I have been trying to figure out a delicate balance between being productive with the iPad or just consuming it as a media player. Finally, I managed to get in a groove that combined all of the above with a combination of both the iPad and the Apple Pencil and also the Apple Keyboard. 

I used to have an Apple Pencil but writing on both Evernote and iOS Notes was a horrible experience. Why? I couldn’t adjust the width of the ink. Similar to me buying the Pilot G2 pen with at least a 0.7 point because I like the thickness of the strokes. With both Evernote and iOS Notes, I couldn’t do that and that made me try out the Apple Keyboard. Great if you are a fast typer but also difficult when typing notes in a meeting because people would be thinking that you weren’t really paying attention. 

Finally, I took the bullet and bought the app, Notability. That changed everything completely. Writing on Notability together with the latest iPad Pro’s fast 120Hz refresh screen really felt like I was writing on paper. Granted that my handwriting is extremely horrible but it is the best note writing app I have come across and I can really take quick notes on it during key meetings where I have to have one hand managing my laptop showing a presentation and another hand taking notes. 

What is good about the app? It allows me to select the thickness of the pen as well as let me choose the type of paper background I can write on. For people like me whose handwriting is crap, I need guided lines to help me stay neat for my notes. Keeps me focused as well. Whats bad about Notability? The app for iPhone, iPad and Mac are all charged separately! So that means you got to pay for the iPad app, the iPhone app and the Mac app for Mac OS. Expensive if you need to view all 3 areas at once but to me, I purchased the iPad app (RM39.90) and sync my notes with OneDrive where all notes will be converted into a PDF file.

Couple the note-taking app with the new features of iOS 11 where there is a files app and other productivity apps, this makes the iPad Pro one useful device. Take, for instance, I had to conduct a survey with a customer. My colleague just finished a survey form and emailed it across to me. I opened the word document within Notability and straight away I had the ability to annotate on it and the completed form is saved as PDF file in my OneDrive. I just love how seamless and easy it is. 

Personally, this seems like the best setup so far and I still have my old notes in both iOS Notes and even Evernote. Someday I need to find the time to merge all of them into at least two sources, iOS Notes for general and typed notes which I can type from any device with a web browser and Notability for my handwritten notes.