Fantastical 2 is the best calendar app for iPhone, and in my review I focused on the aspects that made it a more powerful and elegant solution than Apple's Calendar and Reminders combined. Today's 2.0.1 update brings, among bug fixes and improvements, two nice changes that I'd like to point out as they've made Fantastical even better for me.
Posts tagged with "calendar"
Last month, I was discussing my schedule for this Fall’s check-ups with my oncologist. During our conversation, she asked me if I had a list of all the appointments and todos that I had saved for the next weeks because she couldn’t find the department’s calendar and she doesn’t save patients’ information in her personal one.
I know that my doctor has an iPhone, and I know that she uses Apple’s Calendar and Reminders apps to manage her own schedule, so I showed her the beta of Fantastical 2 that I had on my iPhone. “You can search for events and reminders that match a keyword or location and get a single list showing all results”. She was intrigued. “For my appointments here, I save them with the hospital’s name, so I can just look for that if I want to see them all at once”. At that point, I’m pretty sure she was sold on the app. “But you can’t buy it yet”, I added with a subtle smirk.
Fantastical 2 for iPhone, released today on the App Store and on sale at $2.99 for a limited time, is one of the best iOS 7 apps I’ve tried so far and the best calendar and reminder client for iPhone, period. It improves upon several aspects of the original app and it introduces powerful new features while sporting a complete redesign that makes the app feel at home on iOS 7 without compromising its identity.
Last month, I reviewed Readdle's Calendars 5 and noted how, in spite of getting many things right with event presentation and Reminders integration, the app had been released with some dubious choices for Reminders management, date settings, and task creation. In particular, I noted how the way Readdle supposedly "enhanced" Reminders with a Today list led to more confusion than actual benefits. I concluded that Calendars 5 was a great calendar and reminders client with dozens of nice features and a good set of views, but that needed a more streamlined implementation of Reminders and reliable sync.
In the past few months, I’ve been obsessed with finding the best Calendar and Reminders clients for my iPhone and iPad. While I wouldn’t call myself a calendar power user, I do rely on iCloud Calendar to organize my daily appointments and events that require my complete attention, and I’ve been lured by the simplicity and immediacy of Reminders. As I noted in my article on living with iOS 7, I’ve also been liking the OS’ new Today view in Notification Center, which gives me a summary of all the things – events or reminders – I have to do today.
I don’t like calendar apps that are limited by old rules defined by physical calendars. For instance, what’s the point of showing a full month with past events when our devices know what the current day is? Why showing empty days in views that should list upcoming events? Our devices have a little, powerful silicon brain inside them, and yet so many calendar apps – supposedly, digital assistants for the modern age – are still stuck with concepts and metaphors of two decades ago. This is a topic that other smart people have also touched upon in the past, and I recommend reading this piece by Jason Snell.
Earlier this week I was browsing the App Store and I came across Logacal, a $2.99 iPhone app developed by Czech developer Pavel Doležal. I was intrigued by the app’s clean iOS 7 design and description:
Unlike traditional month, week or day-based calendars, Logacal doesn’t split time equally, but instead depending on how far in the future it is.
Its design is vastly inspired by logarithmic scale that enables you to see and manage your calendar in a very natural and intuitive way.
Now, I’m no expert of logarithmic scales and other high level mathematical theories, but I’m good enough at clicking the Buy button in iTunes and doing some reading on Wikipedia. Apparently, some of our senses operate in a logarithmic fashion, and Pavel’s idea was to represent future days, weeks, months, and years on a scale that gets less granular as you move further in time.
Released last week amid the plethora of iOS 7 app updates, Agenda 4.1 addresses some of my initial complaints about Agenda 4.0: you can now complete reminders from the app, hide completed ones, and toggle the visibility of individual Reminders lists. Agenda still hasn't been optimized for iOS 7 and there's no iPad app, but the new Reminders options are much welcome.
Agenda is $1.99 on the App Store.
Savvy Apps’ Agenda, one of the most popular third-party calendar apps for iOS that we’ve been covering on MacStories for years, has been updated today to version 4.0, which adds a beautiful new user interface and builds upon the previous version’s app integrations, support for Reminders, and gesture-driven event management. Agenda 4.0 is sold as a separate app for $1.99 on the App Store.
I’ve had the chance to test Agenda 4.0 before today’s public release, and as I kept using the app I noticed how it was turning into a powerful complement to Fantastical, my favorite calendar client for iPhone. As I have discussed this week on The Prompt, in fact, I’m currently going through my annual re-evaluation of my workflow, and, partly because of my curiosity in regard to iOS 7, I’ve started using Apple’s Reminders on a daily basis again. Reminders are easy to use, the app is fast, and, more importantly, it’s one of the Apple apps that can sync in the background all the time with iCloud. I can integrate Reminders with IFTTT for iPhone, and, overall, I have been enjoying the simplicity and deep system-wide integration of Reminders. While I’m a big fan of Fantastical’s Day Ticker (I think it’s one of the best calendar interfaces ever shipped on iOS), Agenda allows me to view calendar events and reminders in the same list (something that Fantastical for iPhone still isn’t capable of), and with version 4.0 this list is even more polished and clear than Agenda 3.0.
A great concept by Teehan+Lax Labs, based on UICollectionView and built with custom designs and code to handle a "scrubbing" metaphor instead of regular scrolling. I don't think that it would work for me (I need to see multiple upcoming events, and that's why I love Fantastical for iPhone so much), but I'm all for unique reimaginations of the decade-old digital calendar.
You can download the Upcoming source code here.
Smart piece by Jason Snell.
There are two key factors involved here: old interface patterns and constant data collection. New designs can be experimented with; parsing data introduces layers of complexity that go deeper than providing a new month view.
Fantastical for iPhone gets many things right without cluttering the interface or forcing me to learn a new set of rules and menus. Like Tweetbot's tap & hold actions, Instapaper's footnotes, or Launch Center's presentation of shortcuts, Fantastical's DayTicker and natural language support made me ask myself: Why hasn't anyone else done this before?
Fantastical was already a part of my daily workflow on the Mac; with the iPhone app, I've found myself using the app even more thanks to its beautiful and easy to use interface that makes it super simple to get a quick overview of a day's events. Combined with my OmniFocus-to-Calendar system, I wouldn't be able to go back to Apple's Calendar app after using Fantastical.
Fantastical 1.1, released today on the App Store, adds a series of improvements that make the app even better to use.
In terms of UI tweaks, there are new options in the Settings to highlight weekend days and dim past events for the current day. Both changes are welcome as they make it easier to quickly “read” the calendar; weekend days are dimmed both in DayTicker and calendar view. Another option that has been added in 1.1 – but which I don't use – is the possibility to hide empty days from the DayTicker. The Dock icon can now show a badge indicating the current day of the month or remaining events for the current day (I prefer day of the month).
For calendar management and event creation, Fantastical 1.1 comes with new features that I really like. Events can be moved or duplicated by tapping & holding them and choosing Duplicate or Move from a popup menu; the same tap & hold gesture can be performed on the title bar (where the date is shown) to bring up a beautiful date picker that uses the same “loupe” effect of the DayTicker (shown above). If you don't want to manually pick a date, you can now scroll the entire event list instead of being limited to the current month; scrolling will also automatically scroll the DayTicker or calendar views.
Alongside time zone support, pending invitations management, and multiple alerts (I managed to add 20 alerts to a single event, more than Week Calendar), Fantastical now has a smart clipboard detection tool that will look for date strings in your clipboard and offer you to quickly create a new event. For me, this has been particularly useful for dates of app releases or Skype calls that I frequently receive via email; I can copy the date, open Fantastical, and the app will parse it, letting me type the name of the event and save it.
Fantastical 1.1 is a solid update to my go-to calendar app for iPhone, and it's available on the App Store.