After years of developing mobile tools for its own platform, Microsoft has finally released a series of apps for the iPad including Lync, OneNote and Kinectimals. Hands down, the most anticipated of the bunch is OneNote, Microsoft's popular desktop app for taking and organizing notes. It's the premier solution for the desktop, but, unfortunately, it falls short on the Apple tablet.
The app pulls OneNote documents down from SkyDrive and lets you both view and edit the documents on your iPad. Unfortunately, most of the document formatting is not available on the iPad. I had some beautiful OneNote documents with colorful text, tags, tables and different-sized fonts. You can see an example document below and compare it to the iPad version above. When I viewed the documents on the iPad, tags were missing, and all the text appeared in a small, bland, black font. Even worse, tables were formatted as images and not editable.
Creating new OneNote documents is also very limited on the iPad. You can't create new notebooks or pages; you're only allowed to add new notes. Notebook security is also an issue as you can't view notes or add notes to a notebook that has a password.
Overall, OneNote for the iPad is disappointing. I was hoping for additional editing options and better support for some of the basic attributes of a document. It's not like these features can't be edited on a mobile device. Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system supports OneNote document editing and it gives you excellent access to most of the document properties.
If you only need an app to view plain OneNote documents, you may want to download and try OneNote for the iPad. It's free and it does let you view simple documents. Syncing on the iPad also works well, and changes were uploaded almost immediately. Reliable syncing, though, doesn't make up for an app that's only half as capable as it should be. If you want to try OneNote for the iPad, you can grab it for free from the iOS App Store.