This Week's Sponsor:


Endless Clipboard for Mac and iOS Devices

Sunrise Launches on Apple Watch

Sunrise, the calendar app/platform acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, has always been about integrating your schedule with as many devices and services as possible. Pierre Valade and his team wanted to build a calendar app that could go beyond a traditional representation of calendar events, and this meant opening up Sunrise to third-party services like Todoist, Wunderlist (now also part of Microsoft), Songkick, and more. Sunrise’s willingness to integrate deeply with users’ workflows can even be seen in Meet, a custom keyboard that brings Sunrise’s scheduling features to any app.

Sunrise is launching on Apple Watch today, with another integration that rethinks a core aspect of the app for a new device. Sunrise for Apple Watch, which I’ve tested over the past month, puts the focus on viewing what’s coming up, with an elegant UI and a glance that make it easy to check and act on upcoming events.

Unlike Fantastical, Sunrise for Apple Watch doesn’t let you create new events, which can only be done on the iPhone. Sunrise’s lack of natural language support is likely the culprit here: Flexibits managed to simplify the event creation flow through dictation on the Watch, but Sunrise doesn’t have such technology in place and likely didn’t want to bring a complex creation UI to the Watch. The brief interactions of the Apple Watch are showing why all apps should implement basic support for natural language, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sunrise was already working on this feature. For now, though, Sunrise for Apple Watch is focused on viewing and responding to events.

The main app is a list of events from all the calendars and services you’ve configured in Sunrise. Events are color-coded, and you can tap on individual events to see details for start/end times, invitees, and location. Like Fantastical, an inline Maps preview lets you glance at addresses and you can tap it to open directions in the Maps app. I like how you can scroll events and preview locations and attendees from the main list, but it’s not my favorite part of the app.

I’m a fan of the glance and actionable notifications in Sunrise for Apple Watch. The glance is extremely straightforward: it shows the next item in your calendar, whether it’s an event or an item fetched from a connected service like Todoist and Evernote. This allows me to coalesce multiple due items in a single glance, which can’t be done with other calendar apps.

Notifications have a nice custom UI and I like how they carry inline Maps previews without having to open the app. Aside from seeing times and duration in the notification panel, I can tap the Maps preview to open directions directly from the notification – extremely easy and clearly superior to how notifications are handled on the iPhone. Sunrise’s Watch notifications are a good example of how custom UIs in a notification can help push different types of interfaces and take different actions. It’d be great to have this on iOS as well.

Sunrise isn’t as full-featured as Fantastical on the Watch, but it takes advantage of its integrations to show a more comprehensive view of what’s coming up in your schedule. The app’s glance and notifications slim down Sunrise to an essential “what’s next” scenario, and they’re an obvious next step for a company that’s always tried to integrate with the devices and services you use every day.

Sunrise for Apple Watch is available on the App Store.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.