Sound & Vision On Your iPad

I have been fascinated with the Smartpens from LiveScribe for some time now, but haven’t been able to justify the price tag for the level of use I anticipate. Now there is a way to gain that sort of functionality with your iPad so, for me, it may be time to revisit the merging of voice and printed notes.

If you are not familiar with the Smartpen’s function, it allows you to record a lecture or speech and take notes on special paper at the same time. After, you can access the audio portion of the lecture by tapping on a corresponding section of the page. Soundnote for iPad functionally does the same thing. Simply fire up the app, engage the audio and start taking notes in the document editor. The app tracks what you type and draw. During playback, tap a word and and SoundNote will jump right to the proper time in the audio.

You can use Soundnote to make sketches that are fully editable. Drag it around on the page. Redo a line or trash the whole image.  If you need to access another document or app, SoundNote will pause the recording. All you need to do is tap record again when you return. You can share text, drawings and audio by email and transfer them to your Mac or PC. Audio notes are recorded in standard M4A format and one hour of high quality audio is only 25MB. You can even upload the text as PDF and audio to Dropbox.

Not that I am suggesting attorneys (or law students) might be guilty of this, but Soundnote will protect you even if you happen to fall asleep during that conference presentation or lecture – if you tap on the last text you wrote before nodding off, Soundnote will keep playing the audio it recorded while you were snoozing.

All this for $4.99, which is a tiny fraction of the cost of a Smartpen.

Not bad. Not bad at all.