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One of the more successful services in the “freemium” category, Evernote has thrived since its 2007 debut, managing to keep up with almost every new mobile or desktop platform launched ever since. Most recently, the company reinvented its popular iOS and Mac apps with the lofty goal of accessing notes in as little as two taps. But has anything been left behind in the transition?
Evernote 5.0 introduces an entire new look and feel to the universal iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch app. That’s saying quite a lot, considering how far the company’s apps have evolved over the years. In fact, multiplatform users may never want to go back to the old, flatter UI experience after getting a taste of this one. The latest iOS version bears little resemblance to what once was. An all-new home screen now displays stacked tabs for All Notes, Notebooks, Tags, Places, and Premium Features. Free users will see “Go Premium” instead of that final listing, an encouragement to subscribe and gain additional features like offline notes and larger upload sizes for $4.99 per month.
A trio of Quick Note buttons at top offers quick access for creating notes or using the built-in camera to capture snapshots or digital documents. The iPad’s larger screen also adds a horizontally scrolling grid of Recent Notes, a shortcut for opening the last few items you’ve added, viewed, or displayed. Tapping a tab opens it full-screen, allowing quick access to notes in only two taps. All Notes shows the more traditional grid or list-based view of everything stored in an account, while the redesigned Notebooks collects user-generated and shared collections in one place, which can be unstacked with just a tap. Unfortunately, stacked Notebooks must be created in Evernote for Mac first – they can only be deleted here.
For users with location services enabled, Places offers a map showing everywhere notes have been added, which is great for finding information added while traveling. Evernote can zoom into your current location with a single tap, but getting back to wide view requires pinching out a few times.
The bottom line. Just when you thought Evernote couldn’t get any better, the company comes along and rethinks everything we’ve become used to. Unlike half-hearted attempts at reinvention (Windows 8, anyone?), the iOS app retains its usability and makes a great app even better, despite a few quirks that will only affect a small percentage of users.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Completely redesigned UI requires little time to get acquainted for current users. iPad version utilizes extra space for scrolling Recent Views feature. Data can be accessed in as little as two taps.
Stacked Notebooks can only be viewed or deleted (desktop app required to create them). Places view offers no shortcut for returning to wider view after zooming in. Premium feel more intrusive for free users.