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Somewhere deep in a Cupertino laboratory, a team of developers is no doubt hard at work at a killer to-do app. Reminders is a good start – and certainly a welcome improvement over the iCal-Mail-Notes solution – but it just doesn't have the simplicity and elegance we've come to expect from Apple's own offerings.
Whatever they're working on, they might want to put it on hold and download a copy of Clear, the classiest list-making app we've ever used. Clear's brilliance lies in its design: a clean, refined interface that practically begs you to use it. There's nary a button or menu bar to be found, nor a splash screen or search bar; in fact, there's really nothing at all. That is, until you add something.
Functionality-wise, Clear is fairly elementary. It consists of a three-level hierarchy, beginning with a rudimentary menu of themes, tips, and settings. A quick swipe up reveals your lists (dressed in brilliant blue) and one level lower the items therein (prioritized by diminishing shades of red). Each multi-touch function adds an ease and fluidity to the app, and nothing seems unintuitive or out of place, as the gesture that seems most natural will almost always be the correct one. Interaction with list creation and deletion is stellar, but we found ourselves longing for Reminders' location awareness and alerts.
The intense focus on user interface has some unfortunate drawbacks, however. In order to keep the lists neat and clean, Clear imposes a rather restrictive 20-character limit on all lists and items. Also, since lists and items line the very top of the screen, supplanting the status bar, there can be some confusion with the notification center pull-down tab.
The bottom line. Clear's exquisite interface easily makes up for its shortcomings, but at the very least, we hope an update addresses the confounding character limit.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Gorgeous design. Intuitive multi-touch controls. Fantastic interactivity.
Absurd 20-character limit. No reminder alerts. Limited functionality.