I’ve long been a proponent of natural language parsing in calendar apps. In 2013, it’s a genuine surprise to me when a modern calendar application doesn’t allow you to type your schedule in naturally. If I’m going to a play on Friday (which I am), I want to be able to type “Tim’s play on Friday from 7:30–9:30” in the event creation field and have the event ready to go. Calendar.app has this all wrong, and Fantastical wiped its clock clean when it debuted with natural language parsing last year.
But now there’s Fantastical 2. More than just a re-skin, it brings some great new features and enhancements to the table. At this point, though, Fantastical isn’t alone. It’s also dealing with contenders like Horizon and Calendars 5 by Readdle, both of which bring their own unique tricks to the table. Despite that, though, Fantastical isn’t just king of the calendar throne, it’s also my most-used app every day. It’s the one that manages everything for me now, and it’s an automatic must for me for anybody I know with an iPhone. Read on to find out what makes this not just a great update, but one of the best iPhone apps available and my pick for the best utility app of the year. (more…)
My first iOS experience came by way of an iPod Touch that was given to me at Christmas in 2008. I remember feverishly setting it up so I could comb the App Store for goodies; making sure to download all the best apps and games available at the time. Now that Christmas is upon us this year, some fortunate few are being introduced to iOS for the first time.
When you find your way into the App Store for the first time, you’ll soon discover that it houses a lot of apps. Like, millions. Many of them bring a unique feature to the iPhone that you don’t get from first-party apps, but then there are the apps that compete with Apple’s offerings. Now, being that Apple owns and operates iOS, its apps often include killer features that you won’t find in third-party alternatives. However, even with this advantage, some third-party apps are capable of offering a superior experience.
With this in mind, I’ve rounded up a list of what I believe to be the best free and paid alternatives to Apple’s first-party iOS apps. Read on and get ready to download! (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…)
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…)
Despite the fact that I’m not as busy as I like to think I am (read: I have no life), I have a fascination with calendar apps and task managers. My most recent search is for an app that combines both calendar tasks and my to-do list. That first led me to Agenda, but it’s not perfect. And I’m not one to settle for anything less than perfect.
My next stop is Cal, the calendar app from the folks behind Any.do. I was new to Any.do as well — I had tried it before, but never stuck with it. Because Any.do and Cal are seamlessly married to each other, I thought it was time to give them a shot. And after spending three weeks with Cal, I’m ready to share my thoughts on the app. (more…)
Let’s be honest, the stock Calendar app on the iPhone isn’t that great. If it was everything some of us made it out to be, we probably wouldn’t go searching for alternatives like Fantastical or Horizon (my preferred app). But every calendar app I tried was still missing something that seemed like an intuitive addition to me: Reminders integration.
Every calendar app except Agenda, that it is. Agenda 4.0 is a rethinking of the popular app that includes integration with Reminders and a host of other features that’s going to keep app junkies really happy. In fact, I’d wager to say most app junkies already have it. But is it for everybody? Read on to find out. (more…)
Task — what’s the first thing that comes into mind? To-dos, check boxes and lists, right? With so many task management apps available, you tend to expect the same structure, features and UI elements. Well, what I’m about to share with you is an app of the same family, but built with a completely different direction in mind.
Task is a task management app that defies tradition. While its name brings to mind task lists and ticking off to-dos, it’s actually a minimalistic calendar app designed to make adding and scheduling tasks easy on your smartphone. It is gesture-centered with a lot of animation going on, and also slightly resembles Clear, Realmac’s popular to-do app. Even the app icon looks deceptively similar.
While some of Task’s features are creative and interesting, there are those that I didn’t agree with. In any case, those who are used to the typical way of using a to-do list app may either welcome this unique approach or back away from it. It all depends on how you use the app and how it fits into your workflow. (more…)
For many people, the calendar is the most important productivity tool on their iPhone. No matter how busy you may be, it’s important to keep track of your schedule so that you’re prepared for what lies ahead. Between multiple work trips and planning for a wedding, there are number of appointments and events I need to keep straight, and I rely on my calendar to do so.
I’ve never cared much for the first-party Calendars app, and have jumped from a number of third-party apps such as Agenda, Fatastical and Calendars+ (a few of which I’ve reviewed on AppStorm). But since its release in February, I’ve been using Sunrise Calendar as my go-to schedule maintenance tool, which I’ve found to be an interestingly new take on how a iOS calendar app functions. (more…)
I’m a calendar junkie. The way some people collect to-do apps, I tend to have lots of different calendars all over my iPhone, iPad and Mac, and very few stick. I’ll use one for a month or two, then off to the next or back to an old favorite. I have lots of different options.
But one that has stuck on my Mac is Fantastical. Not only is it quick and easy to use, but it’s just so natural. When I was contacted by the developers and given a sneak peek at the app, well I just had to jump on it. Will the magic transfer to my iPhone or is Fantastical a Mac-only purchase? Let’s find out after the jump. (more…)