What Happened to iPhone Notes Sync?

Back in October of '07, Mike discovered a warning message in Apple's new Leopard Mail that mentioned Notes Sync with the iPhone -- something that the iPhone didn't offer. Rumors flared, and the intertubes began to hope against hope that Apple would offer Notes Sync. Thing is, though, Apple themselves said they'd be offering Notes Sync fully 10 months earlier during Steve Jobs' original Mac World 2007 keynote where he introduced the iPhone. It's right there on the big screen, plain as day. "Notes".

But we didn't get it with the iPhone 2G's launch, we didn't get it with Leopard's launch, and now coming up on 2 years after that momentous keynote, we're on to the iPhone 3G and OS 2.2, and we still don't have it.

Kind of makes "push notification" have to stand in Apple's "promises, promises" line, now doesn't it?

So what happened?

Notes Sync was obviously intended for release with the original iPhone (it's on the slide and in the Mail.app code!). Was OS X 10.5 Leopard's delay enough to push it out, and drop it into functionality purgatory? Did Apple run out of engineers, or decide later that engineering efforts were better spent elsewhere? Did it work fine on Mac with Apple Mail, but get complicated enough on Outlook to scuttle partial-support plans?

Or is Apple thinking it's peripheral enough functionality that they'll just roll it into Snow Leopard's release, which should also have integrated ActiveSync support (for "push" notes)?

What's your conspiracy theory?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

What Happened to iPhone Notes Sync?


Apple is the next Microsoft. We will never see products that live up to their hype again. Also, Apple is notorious for "milking it". They will release it when people are at their limits, like push notification for all programs, and they will market it till you bleed at the eyes as new features and hey will see a surge of new consumers buying their products. That's just how it goes. Fulfilling your promises and bring new and innovative products is no longer how Apple works (it used to be; superdrive, wifi, firewire...), now you can buy cheaper products with more features. The only thing lacking is Apple's GUI and hardware design. Features, it has not. Just look at their track record over the past few years.

I don't really understand the rationale between not syncing some standard PIM data like Notes or Tasks. For example, Windows Mobile doesn't sync Outlook notes by default. Obviously there's a market for this or PhatNotes / Smartphone Notes wouldn't exist and wouldn't be popular.
Is it just too hard to bother with? I can't imagine syncing a to-do task or a bit of text is any harder than syncing a calendar appointment.

I feel your frustration, being a 2 year iPhone user and Lotus Notes for email at work.
However, I wanted to point out that I don't think "Notes" means Lotus, but rather refers to the Notes feature on the iPhone. NOtice the use of the generic terms "Contacts", "Calendars" and Email Accounts and no other reference to a specific application. Just wanted to point that out.

"For example, Windows Mobile doesn’t sync Outlook notes by default."
HUH? Windows mobile has synchronised outlook notes out of the box since the Palm-Size PC days!

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