The thing is, over the last year at least, 90% of the comments I’ve heard about Apple Notes have been that Apple Notes is a very powerful, great, wonderful, amazing, magical, fantastic and most importantly, UNDERRATED application. The other 10% were people who said that Apple Notes is powerful, but they need more power, or they lack of some minor feature (I use Bear, for example, just because I’m used to write in Markdown). I can’t remember the last time I heard or read the opinion like: "What, Apple Notes? A sheet of toilet paper and a pen is a more powerful than this app!”.
It turns out that in my environment absolutely all “normal users” use only Apple Notes and do not even aware of the existence of other note-taking apps (many of them use Apple Notes even as their only “task manager"). At the same time, “power users” even if they don’t use Apple Notes, recognize that in general, for most people, it’s a great application that has all the features they need and even more.
Sooo, why so many people still saying that Apple Notes is underrated? I just watched a video in which the author said that he uses Apple Notes and added that “many people underestimate this great app”. Maybe you have different experience and only surrounded by people who hate Apple Notes? Because every time I hear now that Apple Notes is underrated, I seriously starting to think that these people are paid by Apple.
Speaking in general, not just for Apple Notes, stuff is “underrated” and “overrated” but when you add all the ratings together they are fairly rated.
I’ve used Apple Notes for a long time but haven’t really adopted the new recent features, so I guess I would underrate it because I underutilize its features. But if Apple wants to pay me, I’ll gladly accept a contribution!
It’s just a way of saying “Apple Notes is good now” in narrative language.
A lot of those normal users weren’t using their phones for notes before Notes got good (or were using hacks like texting or emailing themselves), so they weren’t thinking in terms of comparing different notes apps.
I don’t think it is under-rated but I think a lot of people dismiss it because it comes free with the OS. Others may have used earlier versions and found them lacking and switched to something like EverNote and never looked back. My note needs are simple and it suits me just fine.
I think “underrated” is a way of saying “it’s good enough for most people”. There are power users (likely many of the people who read the MPU forums…) who “need” (want?) more from their notes app (linking, tags, markdown, etc.). I classify myself as someone who used to be in that camp. I used Evernote for about 15 years, used “advanced” features like linking, tasks, reminders, etc. Used AppleScript to automate Evernote (until they switched to Electron…was the beginning of the end for Evernote) and had all sorts of workflows set up around Evernote. When Evernote became basically unusable over the last few years, I tried pretty much every note app out there – Obsidian, etc. looking for a replacement. While I was doing that I was using Apple Notes for my day to day use and after a few months decided “this is good enough”. Sure there are advanced workflow features I missed but honestly, I didn’t need those. I found work arounds or just created new workflows. Now that I’m using AN for everything, I’m pretty happy with it. Yeah I wish I could use Markdown (there’s actually a 3rd party app to do that) etc. but it’s good enough. It now supports tags and the Sonoma version will support links so that covers 90% of my use cases. It can also be scripted with AppleScript (or python…I wrote a library for that) so it’s good enough (for me). The other “killer” feature is that it’s dead simple to share notes and collaborate on notes with other Apple users without installing a 3rd party app and it syncs flawlessly to all my devices (almost instantaneously – you can watch changes in near real time if you have one note open on a device while editing on another device because Apple is using CRDT to sync. So yeah, I do think it’s underrated.
This is a very amusing post—I don’t say that to belittle it. Quite the contrary. It’s amusing to me because it’s such a great and accurate observation.
I have two thoughts to contribute to the discussion. First, saying AN is underrated may be one of those youtube / pundit / commentariat cliches. Just like:
“You’re using Apple Notes wrong,”
“I did this one thing in Apple Notes and it solved all my productivity problems,”
“Apple Notes finally does this,”
“You need to start doing this with Apple Notes,”
“Become an Apple Notes pro with these five tricks, watch until the end for a tip that will revolutionize your iPhone experience,” or
the perennial “I never thought they’d do this to Apple Notes”
The second thought is specific to this forum. On MPU, a lot of us use lots of sophisticated (sometimes expensive) third party software. So, saying something like AN is underrated is a way to get people to re-consider the tool or re-evaluate the tool in light of how much better AN is now than what it once was. Maybe it’s also true among MPUers that some of these tools are underrated among us. I’m still not sure AN qualifies. But that’s what I think is going on with the first-party software comparisons most of the time. E.g., “I know you’d never give up OmniFocus for Apple Reminders, but it’s so good now, you could.”
Regardless, I agree with your point. People seem to love AN, and objectively speaking, it’s not at all underrated.
Shucks… you got me. I actually AM paid by Apple to say that Apple Notes is underrated. It’s a tough gig to get, but pretty nice once you’re “in the know”. (winking face emoji)
Only way to get in was, first… you had to get a secret link on Daring Fireball, handed out by Gruber himself. That link took you to a hidden part of the Mac Power Users site where you had to both download the lost MPU podcast episode and guest on an episode of MPU, that was also lost. (for MOST people)
During the MPU interview they gave me the personal email of Federico Viticci. I emailed him a special code word (“long thigh”, it’s been enough time I feel free to share it now) he sent me a one-way flight to Rome. While in Rome I had to go to the Vatican and decipher the hidden meaning in several statues, which eventually, after several car chases and who I think was a crazed monk trying to kill me, led me to the tomb of Mary the Mother of God.
It took me a few minutes to decide what to do at this point. I was deep underground, I had a bag of sand in one hand and was looking at the lever to open the tomb. I was running out of time, there were monks closing in on the one side, and time-traveling nazis on the other. One false move and I was a dead man. I had to make sure the sand was the right weight (136g, the weight of the original iPhone), and hang the bag off the lever so the exact right weight would pull it down. Too much would release a giant bolder and I’d be crushed. Too little and, well, I couldn’t pull the lever. I finally worked up the courage to pull the lever, and inside, untouched by man in 2000 years, was an application form for the position of Secret Notes Evangelist at Apple.
I filled out the form and mailed it to Apple from Rome, and here we are!
For what it’s worth, this is exactly my interpretation of the “underrated” comment. The hosts of tech shows know their audiences really well. They know that listeners might not ever think to revisit AN given what it used to be, but that AN is increasingly capable of meeting many power users’ needs.
Please let us know if he uses the term “underrated” at least once in the video.
[Bear in mind, I neither represent, warrant, or otherwise vouch for the content of the video or whether this YouTuber is, in fact, possessed of sufficient knowledge to qualify as a master of AN. I suspect you could probably teach this guy a thing or two.]
My point was that maybe the people who think that other people underestimate Apple Notes are also a bit stuck in a time when Apple Notes was a weak app and nobody liked it. Now I think that perception has changed considerably, but maybe I’m wrong of course
3 weeks ago - Forget about it, there is revolution now, LAZY!!!
Just curious, how often YouTubers who says “Apple Notes is good enough, why do you use something esle?!” And YouTubers who says “THIS [app of the week] IS SO GORGEOUS YOU SHOULD TRY IT RIGHT NOW!” are the same YouTubers?
This is true! As someone who is trying to be online and derive some income (I have enough for a downpayment on a coffee! ) there are courses for Headlines, Thumbnails and the like. From a YouTube perspective, this is all you have to go on until you start watching. So, it makes sense. Brick-and-mortar shopfronts try to be similar - attractive places that draw you in.
And it happens in all marketing, not just YouTube. Few marketing campaigns are about the nuts and bolts of a product. They need to be “life-changing”. Show you things you didn’t know. Look at any car advert. Any Apple or Samsung advert.
That said there is one YouTuber who I watched from his very beginnings (There I narrowed it down for you, he’s a male! ) But it seems the genuineness has gone now and every video is basically a sales campaign of some sort. His thumbnails and headlines are there to incite interest. I now occasionally click on them to see what he’s up to but I rarely watch through anymore.
I agree about “average users” (whoever that is)—many of them use AN without a second thought and get great value out of it. The point I wanted to make is that I think the hosts of tech podcasts like MPU know their audiences well and are speaking directly to their audience, for whom AN is an oft-forgotten or disregarded option because of the way it evolved slowly but surely over many years.
I dropped Apple Notes in favor of Upnote some time ago. As usual, it depends on the individual’s use case, but the big advantage for me was that Upnote works much better on Windows. Apple Notes is prettier. Upnote costs a little, not much.