Readers of TUAW know that we have an affinity for the products made by Minneapolis-based Pad & Quill. Whether it’s one of the company’s amazing iPhone wallet cases, the gorgeous new leather bags, or their complete line of wood and leather iPad cases, the company has the Moleskine-style notebook look down cold. So it’s not surprising that the company has embarked on its first app — Pad & Quill Notes (free, with in-app purchases, and universal) — and that it’s an app for taking notes.
For those who are looking for a feature-loaded text editor, Pad & Quill Notes probably (to paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi) isn’t the app you’re looking for. It’s a stylish, yet basic note-taking app, targeted more at someone who is interested in writing a daily diary than blogging in Markdown.
The app opens to a blank notebook with one style of type for the title and another for the body text. The in-app purchase — currently priced at US$ 0.99 — gives you access to a number of notebook covers, the ability to drop images into your notebook pages and three styles of text.
The UI for Pad & Quill Notes is really first-class. I love the way that it’s spare and clean (very iOS 7-ish), and all of the controls are available with a tap. You really don’t need a help file with this app, as all actions are very intuitive. The only hint that appears tells you how to use a two-finger upward swipe to remove a notebook.
You can have a number of chapters in each notebook, all of which appear in time order when you tap the table of contents button. Images that are inserted into a page appear at the top of the page, which gives the pages a really nice look.
There are some limitations with Pad & Quill Notes, but it’s important to remember that it is a first release. For example, I’d like to see more sharing capabilities (perhaps to WordPress and Tumblr, and a print capability) than just iMessage, Mail, and Facebook. When using the app on an iPad in landscape mode, the image picker appears sideways — not unusable, but just annoying. I also found that in order to select a particular notebook cover, I had to keep creating notebooks until the one I liked appears, then delete the others. There should be a picker available for grabbing a notebook cover.
But if you’re the type of person who isn’t too picky and would like a real “blank page” notebook without a lot of frills that looks great, Pad & Quill Notes is a pretty good free app that will only get better. I look forward to watching this app evolve in the future.