There is a pile of applications that claim to turn your iPad into a virtual notebook but none of them, in my opinion, do that as good as GoodNotes, which just released version 5.
The best thing about the new version is the improved ink engine. I have always felt that GoodNotes had the most natural writing for the iPad. This new version only increases their lead. You can even see how the ink changes as you lift the Apple Pencil off the screen. I spent some time with the GoodNotes team at WWDC last year, and they explained how much time they had put into making the app feel more like writing on paper, and it shows. It’s still plastic on glass, but in every way they can improve on those mediums, they have.
That’s not all. With this new update, GoodNotes has added additional file management tools. There’s a new folder system where you can nest folders to organize your notes easier. Finding access your notes gets easier with other improvements as well. There’s a favorites view to help you get to the most important notes. You can now also start a new fresh note instantly upon launch. This isn’t as convenient with the Apple Notes app (which is baked into the operating system) but as instant as you are going to get with a third party app and, once you get rolling, the GoodNotes ink engine runs circles around the Apple Notes pen.
There’s a lot more new features, but they’ve also improved some of the older features. Traditionally, GoodNotes has one of the best paper selections to write on. They’ve got it all with multiple colors and styles (grids, lines, music).
GoodNotes 5 is $7.99. If you purchased GoodNotes, version 4 for full price, the upgrade to version 5 is free. If you paid a discounted price for version 4, you can get the new version for the difference. If you’re the type of person that likes to bring a pad of paper and a pencil into a meeting but iPad curious, GoodNotes may work for you.