Yesterday on TUAW TV Live, Doc Rock and I did our favorite app and hardware picks of the week, and mine was a surprising app that has changed the way that I look at scanning. As I mentioned on the show, I have despised physical scanners since my first run-ins with them back in the SCSI days. They're always fairly slow, sheet feeders have a tendency to jam, and the included software is usually buggy. I've tried other scanning apps, but found that they were usually more of a hassle to use than the scanners ... until I tried Scanbot. The US$0.99 iPhone app only does two things -- scan and create PDFs of documents -- but it does those two things very well.
To scan, you simply point the camera-like scanning display at the document you wish to scan. If you're too far away, it will ask you to move closer; if you're scanning the document at an angle, it will say "perspective" to remind you to move your iPhone above the document. Scanbot then does edge detection to highlight the document you're scanning, tells you "don't move", and takes a picture -- all without touching the iPhone's screen. If you want to give the document a name, a name entry field just a tap away; otherwise, you can use the time and date stamp that is applied by default. That document is then turned into a very clean and square PDF that you can send to a cloud service or store locally.
Those cloud services include Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive, Box.net, and Yandex Disk. Scanbot can be set up to automatically upload your scans to any one of those services, and it does it in background while you're scanning other documents. Want to save the document as a JPG on your camera roll? That's possible, too.