Two of the things that enchanted me most at Macworld | iWorld 2012 was the Jot stylus and a preview of Readdle's Remarks app. I've spent the past week looking at different note-taking apps to use with my new Jot Pro while waiting for Remarks to come out. The preview held not one, not two, but three TUAW writers enthralled as the Readdle folks showed it off. Does it live up to the hype? It really does.
I have two specific tasks for any note-taking app for the iPad - it should handle the hand drafts I do of comic strips, and it should handle a PDF workflow I've developed for my day job. In both areas, it excelled. In handwriting mode, Remarks edges out Note Taker HD in responsiveness when it comes to using a stylus. It's able to keep up with my quick cursive without the stylus petering out, which is an issue I've had with other apps.
Handling documents is a sheer joy. You can drag and drop documents onto each other to create new folders, and you can also create subfolders as well. Page scrolling within PDFs is smooth, which is an issue I had with Note Taker HD. Normal gestures for zooming in and out can be used, but make sure to use two fingers to swipe when moving pages in editing mode.
One of the neat things about Remarks is that PDF annotations you add can be edited in Preview or Adobe Acrobat reader. I added a couple of objects to my test PDF, emailed it to myself on my Mac and was able to change the objects there, then edit them again once I sent them back to my iPad. You can quickly add and delete pages from the PDFs, but you can't combine them.
There are a couple of things that I wish Remarks had. The wrist guard isn't accessible in normal page mode, so you have to zoom in every time you want to annotate something (annoying if you're like me and tend to rest your arm on the iPad). I also love Note Taker HD's "staple" feature, which lets you combine two PDFs or documents. It's been handy for attaching copies of my completed pages at work to my notes. I've been told that Dropbox and other cloud app support is coming within the next week, along with improvements to an already splendid rendering engine.
For US$4.99, Remarks for iPad has become the go-to note-taking app on the iPad for me. If you've been wanting to try one out, this is a great app to begin with.