Guest post by @thunderberry – Follow him!
Evernote has long been the swiss army knife of universal capture. Running on Windows, Mac, the Web, multiple smartphone platforms and of course the iPhone, this hybrid of application and service has undergone multiple revisions in its goal to help you ‘Remember Everything”. Add or edit any note on any platform and with a simple sync it becomes available everywhere else.
Prior to OS 3.0 on the iPhone, Evernote was a little restricted as to what you could capture. We’ve already touched upon how the lack of Copy and Paste on made clipping sections of web sites impossible, and the restrictive lack of macro function on the camera made snapping all those important business cards (or wine bottle labels) infeasible unless you were willing to make do with a blurry smudge or used a macro lens. All that has changed now with the release of Evernote for iPhone 3.0 and the advent of the new, snappier iPhone 3GS and update of 3.0. So what exactly has made Evernote go from cool to essential? Let’s take a quick look.
Perhaps one of the most significant changes, and one entirely down to the new iPhone 3GS, is the addition of a new macro capable camera. This one feature alone opens up a whole range of new applications for Evernote. For one it means that the iPhone becomes an important capture device for contact information on the go. That new business card you just received can be added to Evernote with a quick snap and synched back to their servers, where their advanced text recognition capabilities allow it to become searchable by content, time, AND location. No more need to actually KEEP those cards! Also, that great bottle of vino that you get in the restaurant? One snap and it’s there for the next time you’re in BevMo.
The new landscape view for notes also adds extra depth. Your notes are now presented in glorious widescreen in chornological order, scrolling with buttery smooth precision. Given the current love of lifestreaming, this time-orded view of the information that you capture feels both natural and accessible, ensuring that you can easily find that all essential gumbo recipe that you were looking for.
However, the real killer feature of Evernote is its extensive range of native clients, enabling notes started in one application to be almost instantly available on other platforms with a quick sync. On top of this, the cloud-based nature of evernote and its web service means that you will never be without some way of accessing or editing your information. To give an example of what this can enable, let’s look at how this proved useful for me the other day.
As an independent worker, I’m neither bound by the limitations of regular working hours, nor locations. Previously, if I had wanted to get any serious work done at a local coffee spot I would have had to drag my notebook (or netbook) down to the store, tether myself to the wall socket and then find an overpriced WiFi connection to get me onto the internet. With Evernote for iPhone 3.0 however, this whole process has become simplified and streamlined. I had started my day by adding some relevant web page clips to Evernote, which I then used in crafting a new article. Later in the day, when writers block struck and I needed a change of scene, I was able to start off again on the iPhone from exactly where I had left off on the Mac earlier. Half an hour later the text was done and I finished my coffee. On returning home I was able to copy the text on the Mac, submit, and voila, another thing to check off the list.
Now, we do need to be honest here and come clean that all is not perfect. On the iPhone, formatting is still very simple and lacks the richness seen in the desktop clients. Some features, such as being able to organize your notes into multiple notebooks, are a little hard to use. But in general, the latest iteration of Evernote for the iPhone has become and essential in my roster of applications. The folks at Evernote have put a lot of work into this release, and it shows. They’ve also been putting a lot of work into ensuring that Evernote is accessible by other applications on the iPhone, and so we can look forward to some interesting uses of the service in the not too distant future.
All in all the combination of Evernote for iPhone 3.0 and the new iPhone 3GS makes for killer productivity, and in my opinion this is something you can’t afford to be without.