Is Apple taking productivity seriously?

I'm a outlier, a heavy user of stock iOS apps for productivity.  In stock apps I mean Reminders, Calendar and Notes. 

It's not until you use them heavily that you find yourself either finding bugs or wanting more.   

From using Notes and Reminders over the last few years I have started to think a lot about what Apple is bring us in iOS 8 updates to these apps.  From my research (I'm not a dev) it looks like the UI changes in Yosemite is the only tweak from a user facing point of view so I'm hoping that a lot of work has gone into the background reliability instead.

Notes on the whole is pretty reliable from a sync perspective but there are some changes that I'd like to see:

  • Ability to add images to a note, at the moment this isn't possible in iOS 7 but it would be a great addition to add images along with your notes.  Imagine you just want to take a picture of a shopping list or your router information for easy access
  • Tags, at a simple level.  I've been a user of Evernote and found it a bit too much for me but one area that I found really handy was tagging.  E.g. you could store insurance information in a note and tag it with 'certificates' or 'house' to allow easy access
  • UI, the list view is great but it would be nice to see all of your notes in a higher level view e.g. you have a post it style UI with a card for each note.  This was they fit on the screen and you can quickly browse them

So Notes isn't too bad but Reminders...

The UI has improved since iOS 6 and on the iPad it's great but I feel that the iPhone UI could do with some improvement to allow for quicker navigation e.g. use the back gestures (like in notes), in fact Apple can copy the Notes UI as a starting point.

UI aside the main problem with Reminders is reliability:

  • If you add an item in the 'Scheduled' view it more times than not overwrites the item before it
  • If you try to do too much at once i.e. click multiple items off your list it sometimes throws it completely out e.g. I've had all of my lists go to a zero count but the items remain on the list

The strange thing is that if you edit via iCloud.com it all seems a bit more stable, let's see Apple finally sort out this reputation of not being a cloud company once and for all.

Whilst writing this I do ask myself if the reason that I am spotting this is the fact that I am an outlier, I am a heavy user and there are plenty of other apps I could choose from.  But I don't want to, I want the tightest integration in the eco-system possible, which may change with the introduction of iOS 8 and extensions.

A few companies have already started to share their vision and with widgets and share sheet updates a matter of weeks away I can't wait and who know, maybe it will finally ween my off my stock iOS approach to productivity.

I'm going to be writing up a lot about iOS 8 and it's updated apps, focussing on productivity so watch this space.