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Productivity

Don’t judge a book by its cover–a valuable piece of advice I was taught early in my life, as I’m sure a lot of you where as well. More often than not I find this old adage to be profoundly true, but, at times, I find it incredibly difficult to live by. I, like a lot of individuals, find it easier to embrace something that’s pleasing to the eye. Sometimes it turns out well, which I’m sure most Apple device owners can attest to (just holding my iPad mini is one of my favorite past times), but other times I’m reminded why the adage rings so true.

Taasky is an app that was on my radar several months before its launch. I had seen it showcased on several blogs and Dribbble because of it’s beautiful and sleek design. I was enamored, to say the least. So, when the app found its way to the App Store I was quite pleased, and downloaded it with haste. What I discovered after spending a mere few minutes with the app, however, was another lesson involving books and their covers. (more…)

Calendars 5 is the newest iteration of Readdle’s calendars app (Calendars+ being the previous version). Readdle has been a developing team I’ve long admired, as they’ve consistently produced high quality productivity, utility and business apps that get the job done, plain and simple. In September, I wrote a how-to article that features their Printer Pro app, which makes it incredibly easy to print from an iOS device to a non-AirPrint enabled printer. I should also state, for the purposes of full disclosure, that I’m a member of their beta program.

Be that as it may, I always find myself being very critical of new calendar apps, and make no exceptions with Calendars 5. The iOS 7 Calendar.app has done little to sway me in using it full-time. Fantastical 2 is a quite good, overall, but I just don’t like how the events list functions. Sunrise is my favorite calendar app, which I recently reviewed, but it lacks some key features (discussed in my review).

While it may seem like I’m attempting to boast about how I’m never satisfied with calendar apps, or that I’m just incredibly picky, I assure you that neither are the case (at least that’s what I keep telling myself). A calendar is a very important tool in most people’s lives, so when using an app for calendar management it’s important that it makes this task as easy as possible. With that in mind, let’s find out if Calendars 5 has what it takes to get the job done. (more…)

Gneo is an interesting task management app that tries to do things very differently. On first glance, the app appears to be a cross between Trello and any other GTD app, but what sets it apart is its advanced feature set and rather unique take on overseeing your entire task list.

The app isn’t without fault and, in some instances, the app can be frustrating but it sets itself apart with a fresh perspective on task and project management that stops this from being just another todo app.

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There are a ton of todo apps, and with so many out there, the waters can seem pretty murky when looking for a new task management solution. I decided to give YellingMom a go, though, because the reminders seemed so easy and it’s got a pretty great setup for rescheduling tasks when I’ve run out of time. Add to that Evernote sync, and YellingMom seems like a pretty sweet option. I’m going to run it through its paces and see if it’s as good as it looks to be. (more…)

There’s been a lot of hullaballoo over the changes made to Pages for Mac, specifically in regard to making the app simpler and less powerful. But I haven’t heard much about the Pages update for iOS, which is exactly why we decided to jump into it here at AppStorm. Apple has promised not just to change the design of the iOS versions of Pages to bring it more in line with Pages for Mac, but they’ve also promised to get rid of some of the problems Pages used to suffer previously.

These changes amount from little things, like under-the-hood improvements that positively affect mobile devices (but negatively affect Mac users), to big things like a complete design overhaul. Not only that, but the app is now free if you’re buying a new iPhone or iPad. Let’s take a look and see whether or not the new Pages is truly a welcome improvement.

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m thinking about something that I have to do, the thoughts floating about my head don’t appear in logically placed chunks of data. Usually, it’s something like, “Oh crap, I have to meet Tom at 8:15 tonight to watch the game,” and not “Meet Tom. 8:15pm. 10/30/13.” It’s a hurdle that I have to cross every time I type a new entry into my calendar; a little brain tweak that causes the slightest bit of friction in my day — or it did, anyway.

Fantastical 2 — the sequel to the amazing Fantastical — uses natural language parsing to create your calendar entries. Meaning, you can write what you think and Fantastical 2 sorts it out for you. Last year, I reviewed Fantastical and gave it a 10/10. Will the latest version live up to the hype?

Spoiler alert: Yup. (more…)

Writing app reviews is a great gig, mainly because it gives me an excuse to “audition” apps on a constant basis. I have a need to research and find new apps, or test out the latest and greatest offerings, to determine if they fill a crucial need. Because of this, most apps don’t end up spending much time on my phone, as they’re often being replaced. I’ve used over a dozen notes apps, for example, which get replaced every other week or so (I’m currently using Simplenote, which may finally bring some stability).

With that being said, I’m always pleased when I encounter an app that stands up to scrutiny and outshines the competition. I shared a similar sentiment in my recent Pocket Casts review, which is by far and away my favorite podcast management app. Now, I refer you to my favorite calendar app–Sunrise. Redesigned and refreshed for iOS 7, let’s find out how this calendar app has progressed since my initial review in April. (more…)

Task and project management apps such as OmniFocus and Things aren’t just popular, they’re a necessity for anyone wanting to keep track of tasks and projects all the way from start to finish. While I probably spend more time trying out new GTD apps than actually getting anything done, I’d be completely lost without any sort of task management app that lets me track individual tasks and projects.

My latest GTD distraction is Firetask, a project-orientated task management app that promises complete and simple control of your tasks so you can spend less time procrastinating and more time, well, getting things done.

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One of the best text editors for iOS, the Markdown-powered Byword has been a firm favourite of ours with its simple iCloud and Dropbox integration and clean, distraction-free layout. With the release of iOS 7, the Portuguese-developed app has embraced this and has been updated with a more fitting UI and some other enhancements that make writing any quantity of text even more of a pleasure.

I put the latest release of Byword, now only available for iOS 7, through its paces to see what benefits it brings for those using Apple’s latest iOS release.

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I’m a huge note taker. It’s one of my primary use cases for my iPhone. I’ve collected all sorts of apps to help me do it, but Simplenote is the one I find myself coming back to nearly every day. It’s always fast and it works the way I work, getting me in and out of notes as quickly as possible.

Simplenote has recently received a major upgrade. For those of you who are already fans, you’re going to like it even more. For those of you who aren’t fans, it might be time to think about ditching the stock Notes app and switching to a better, more robust experience.

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