What Apple Notes Needs to Compete

I’ve been using Evernote for a few years, both as a repository of snippets and documents, and a tool for collaboration. It’s great for the latter, because you can share a notebook, which means that every note you add to that notebook is also shared automatically. And unlike, say, Google Docs, with Evernote, you can have all your content stored offline. (And you don’t need to use a web browser to access it.)

But reading this article on The Verge, it looks like Evernote may not last long. Perhaps the departure of “many executives” will lead to it being bought up by another company, and preventing its death, but it doesn’t look good, since they’re slashing their prices to get and retain users.

Apple notes

Apple Notes is a great tool – if you’re locked into the Apple platforms – but I can’t use it for what I want for several reasons. Apple could supercharge this app to make it more useful for “pro” users fairly easily, without turning it into the bloatware that is Microsoft OneNote. Here’s what they need to do:

  • They could add shared folders (the equivalent of notebooks in Evernote), allowing it to be more easily used for collaboration. Currently, you can share notes, and have to share each one individually with an email or iMessage.
  • They could provide some more advanced styling tools. Evernote essentially lets you style documents as you would in a word processor. Most people don’t need that many style options, but Notes is extremely simplistic, offering a half-dozen fixed styles and no easy way to apply alternate formatting. (You can select text and open the Font panel to change formatting, but that takes a lot longer than using Evernotes’ formatting bar.)
  • Evernote’s web clipper – a browser extension that lets you save a web page to Evernote with a couple of clicks – is one of the most powerful parts of the app. Notes only saves links. I find it more useful to have the full content of a page to be able to find things by searching for keywords.

I would like to be able to replace Evernote with Apple Notes; not because I don’t like Evernote, but because it doesn’t seem like a long-term solution, and because Notes is there on everything I use. But unfortunately, these three missing features make Notes too weak for me. And the lack of folder-level collaboration is a deal breaker. Let’s hope Apple sees the opening in the market and powers up Notes a bit more.