For the last few years, Notability has emerged as one of the favorite apps for students who wish to take notes during class while also recording audio of their lectures. The app, which was already available for the iPhone and iPad, is now bringing all the same functionality to the desktop, rounding out all the places where its users might want to access their notes.
Notability was created by an outfit called Ginger Labs, which first sought to help the hearing impaired with a mobile app called soundAMP that, with the help of earbuds, could help amplify the sounds of the world around its users. But the company quickly realized that tapping into the recording functionality of the iPhone had other applications.
They figured out how to sync up recordings with notes that users were taking, and Notability was born. More than just an app for saving text-based notes, Notability was created to be flexible and support a wide range of inputs. Users can draw on the mobile and tablet apps, add images and text, and even import and embed documents or web pages directly into their documents, all with audio timestamped against the text or media added.
That enables users to create bookmarks around specific parts of their notes. They can also click through their notes to jump straight to the corresponding audio. Notes can be saved in iCloud, which enables users to access them across devices. They can also be exported into other supported file formats, like PDF, and shared with other users who have the app or automatically added to a user’s Dropbox folder.
The flexible nature of the app, as well as a relatively low price point, has helped it get adopted for a number of different use cases. But according to founder Fred Mitchell, the largest user group, by far, is the education space. Notability is seeing adoption from students of all ages, ranging from first grade to graduate school. Some teachers are even making assignments and giving homework which can be completed through the app and uploaded to a shared Dropbox folder.
In addition to students, Notability also has a fair amount of professionals that use the app, including architects who use the app to annotate schematics and lawyers who have replaced their legal pads with an iPad, according to Mitchell.
Now that it’s moving to the Mac App Store, Notability will become even more useful. Using iCloud, users will be able to sync and update documents with little hassle and access them on all their Apple devices. The desktop version of the app will cost $9.99 to download, which is above the usual $4.99 price for Notability. (The app is currently on sale for mobile at 40% off, or $2.99)
With school starting up soon, Notability is currently the #1 app on the Apple App Store for iPad. But by making notes available on students’ laptops, the app has a huge potential new group of customers who will likely also download the app for desktop.