Things in Review – What the iPhone needed built in all along

things1I remember when I first got my iPhone (it was a first generation that I had to unlock to use outside of the US), I was very amazed by the syncing capabilities. The data on the phone was exactly the same as on the computer, I could copy all my bookmarks, e-mail account settings and my entire phonebook without any problems such as duplication or the phone simply not syncing (I used to use Sony Ericssons). However I was, and still am, intrigued as to why the phone cannot sync tasks or to-dos. The reason is very simple; Leopard has it and since it could sync everything over from the computer, why not tasks and to-dos??

Enter Things by Cultured Code; an app from the App Store that I think should have been built into the platform. Upon opening the app, I was presented by a screen that showed: Inbox, Today, Next, Scheduled, Someday, Projects and Logbook. These categories are simple enough; although I don’t like that fact that I cannot change these default folders or add another one.

things2Anyway, clicking on the bottom left “plus” button will then bring up a screen to create a new to-do, with an additional button to enter details such as notes, due dates as well as what categories the item will go to. An additional feature that I like very much; if the task was due today, then the icon in the home screen of the iPhone/ iPod Touch will show a badge with the number of task to complete, just like e-mail. This is a very good final touch in my opinion, because whenever I unlock my device, I can immediately find out that I still need to do some things, thus not requiring me to proactively check the application.

things3To avoid clutter in the to-do list, the application will automatically move items done to the logbook, so that whilst the user will get a history, it will not clog up the list making browsing difficult. Also, another clutter reducing feature is the “Project” feature. Treat it as a folder within the list, but it has its own Due Date, and separate tasks can have its own Due Date, which is a very nice touch.

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Overall, Things is a very intuitive app; however, don’t be fooled by its innocent face. It is a very powerful tool that can allow its user to view their information in a very elegant yet flexible way. The authors of this application have taken a step further in hiding features that are not commonly used, but still offering it for power users to use. Hence, this app can be tailored for a larger demographic. Honestly, I don’t know why Apple hasn’t put these functions into the platform natively, but as far as I’m concerned, having this is enough… if only it can sync like MobileMe and Calendar…

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App Summary
Title:Things (v1.34)Developer:Cultured Code
Price:$9.99App Size:0.6 mb
  • Easy to learn, and even easier to use
  • Automatic archiving of “done” to-dos
  • Interface can cater to power and novice users alike
  • Badges on the icon of the application
  • Cannot change the categories on the front page
  • Premium price tag
  • Nothing else major…

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