When Apple redesigned its apps for iOS 7, the iPad versions got something of a short shrift. Stale staples like Notes and Calendar were happily stripped of their skeuomorphism—but somewhere along the design process, they lost their character too, as Jony Ive sought to bring greater aesthetic harmony across the various iOS screens. Flexibits’ Fantastical 2 for iPad does well to avoid this trap. Instead of a dull port from the smaller screen, it sets a new standard for universality, reinventing its brilliant calendar concept with a streamlined interface that takes everything good about the iPhone app and makes it bigger and better.
While we can generally figure out how to operate most new apps with little instruction, Peek Calendar required a trip to the tutorial before we got started — one of several we made during the course of reviewing the app. It's not so much that Peek is overloaded with powerful features or intricate gestures, but rather it rarely led us in any logical direction. Peek Calendar pushes the iOS 7 human interface guidelines to their limits with its ridiculously minimal, gesture-heavy approach, but while it tries to limit the amount of time you spend interacting with your calendar, its unique concept is ultimately too smart for its own good.
All day long, our phones tell us what to do. Even before we turn them on each morning, a constant stream of badges, banners, and alerts keeps us apprised of our appointments and deadlines, pestering us with so much information that it becomes all too easy to tune it out. Begin attempts to cut through the clutter with a unique take on the to-do list. Instead of collecting tasks and prompting you when a due date is near, Begin boils your life down into 48-hour chunks. By focusing only on what you're doing today and tomorrow, it might actually help you accomplish something.
Apple’s built-in iOS apps are quite good, but let’s face it: The Calendar app leaves a lot to be desired. Readdle has attempted to remedy this situation before, but the latest incarnation of its Calendars app has us seriously considering ditching the built-in app in favor of this third-party solution. Calendars 5 is an entirely new universal app that feels right at home on iOS 7, with a flat, more streamlined UI than Readdle’s previous Calendars+. It also upstages Apple by offering natural language input, so users can type or dictate in plain English.
There's a trend these days toward smart calendars. No longer is it enough to just keep track of our appointments; apps like Tempo and Horizon combine our important dates with weather forecasts, contacts, and emails, and even Apple is getting into the act with directions and traffic reports in iOS 7. On the surface, Cal – the first in a planned suite of productivity apps from the creators of Any.Do – seems too simple to compete with this new class of calendar. But while it won't blow you away with powerful features, its slick interface and attention to detail show that smarts aren't just about artificial intelligence.
It’s easy to forget the iPad’s been around for only three years, since it’s made such a big footprint in our day-to-day lives. It’s great for lean-back, leisurely weekend activities like watching a movie, video chatting with faraway relatives, and playing a few rounds of Words with Friends. But don’t leave it behind when it’s time to return to the salt mines Monday morning—turns out, the iPad works at the office almost as hard as you do.
Google announced yesterday that Google+ will now have its own Events feature, so users of the social network will now be able to create event pages to invite friends and share photos as the event is happening. Curious about it? Read on to find out more.