Despite my complaints, you will find some useful music apps in the iTunes App Store – you can at least get some fine tuners. (Andy Ihnatko was excited on Twitter that one of them helps him tune his ukulele, thanks to four string support!) We do expect more hefty music tools in the coming months, and via the jailbroken platform.

But some of the real stars on the iPhone – or whatever your favorite smart mobile device may be – have to do with simply storing ideas and keeping your life together. That means one of the best downloads so far for the iPhone is Evernote. As Graham English writes in comments on CDM:

The app I’m most excited about for music is Evernote. You can record voice notes, text notes, and it even recognizes the text in iPhone pictures. So next time you write a killer hook on a bar napkin, snap a picture and sync it. Cool.

I’m a huge user of Evernote on my desktops and, via its web browser, on my Blackberry. The iPhone app looks especially great, though; I’m jealous.

Evernote for iPhone

My friend Francis Preve has written a whole set of useful tips for DJs that apply to any gigging musician / artist (which he’s been refining since the first iPod, in fact):

Top 10 iPhone tricks for DJs [Beatportal]

Some highlights:

  • Keeping email templates for gig announcements on your device so you can send them quickly. (Recognize this scenario? “Hey, what’s new?” “I’m playing Friday.” “Oh, really?”)
  • Mapping: Some providers require you to enable mapping capabilities on your device. Do it. Both the “real” GPS (via a dedicated radio) and the assisted GPS can be lifesavers if you travel at all. (The iPhone 2.0 update adds this feature, in the assisted form.)
  • Rescue tracks: The iPhone is a capable music player, so it can, um, save you when your laptop dies or someone steals your hard drive. It even has video out capability, for you Create Digital Motion readers.

And the fact is, you can easily apply these ideas to whatever phone / smart device is your favorite. These could also put you over the top as far as cameras with phones – not because you’ll necessarily be taking attractive photos (dedicated cameras are a must for that) but because they can aid visual memory. (Airport parking spot? Check!)

I especially like Fran’s idea of logging creative time. Invoicing aside, I find that it’s so often a fight to get time to yourself that I really like the idea of keeping track of that time, whether it’s in the studio or just sitting in the park thinking about a new song. It could help give you some positive reinforcement for setting aside some working time or even badly-needed quiet time.

Going back to my first Palm (the PalmPilot Professional, no less), I’ve always found even simple mobile devices can help reduce stress, particularly on the road. And that to me is priceless.

Other ideas that boost your productivity, in terms of gigging, travel, and creativity? Let us know.


iPod Touch/iPhone for Music Round-up (which, surprisingly, isn’t all that outdated by the App Store launch – we expect bigger announcements in the coming weeks)

  • As I noted in the iPhone music app thread. Evernote for iPhone doesn't seem to be ready for primetime. You can create new notes on the iPhone, but existing notes are not editable on the iPhone/iPT. I ran into numerous bugs including the inability to sync notes to the server. The top line of the text editor for new notes gets clipped off so you can only see the bottoms of the letters. If you accidentally start the app and enter the wrong choice or information about your account you seem to be able to get into an infinite loop. OK quitting to your home screen is only a button away. But the Evernote iPhone app is in need of some serious work and testing. The idea seems great though.

    I would expect lots of innovation and improvement the GTD product niche. Two Mac-based offerings seem interesting. OmniFocus and Things by Cultured Code.

    OmniFocus is costly at $80 for the Mac version plus $20 for the iPhone client. It's Mac-only too and requires that you set up a WebDAV server or use MobileMe to sync your data.

    Things by Cultured Code is $40 for the Mac and $10 for the iPhone, but it doesn't sync at all yet. And they say those are introductory prices. i.e. the price goes up when they actually finish the program. Again its Mac only.

    Which brings up an interesting point: will a Mac-only program fly on the iPhone? I think something Web-enabled like Evernote has a much better chance of dominating. Hopefully Evernote will run with it and actually get a functional version of their client out for the iPhone.

    In the mean time I would expect to see a number of other products to enter this potentially lucrative niche over the next few months.

  • Ah, good comments, Richard. Jeez, I can actually edit existing notes via the Web interface — which is a problem I have with a number of the iPhone apps, from what I've seen. There are a bunch of things that are really browser tools with a skin or a fancy icon or whatever. (Similar problem on some of the Blackberry "apps".) This isn't necessarily even the fault of the SDK so much as lazy or unambitious developers…. or, perhaps, the need is really for something that lives in the browser, depending on the application.

    Well, Evernote's clients at least continue to iterate on all platforms … though, at the same time, you see the problems of having to deal with a bunch of different platforms without a clear core across all of them.

    Omni's stuff has traditionally been pretty good. There's an OmniOutliner for iPhone out there, too, no?

  • I think just OmniFocus at this point which is sort of an outliner on steroids.

  • I am using an unlocked iphone in Malaysia. But iTune store just couldn't let me create an account. Without an apple account, I can't download app via the apple app store.

    That's bad. Do you know any way that I can download evernote?

  • Richard is right. Evernote isn't fully ready for prime time. Heck, iPhone 3G was hardly ready for prime time. But at the moment, Evernote is a great capture tool. I was shocked to see it in the App store since it's basically a beta service. I imagine they'll roll out improvements based on the feedback. John Gruber (Daring Fireball) totally ripped into them so I'm sure they'll take notice.