Quick Pick: Flexibits’ Fantastical for iPhone

Left: DayTicker view lets you easily view upcoming events/appointments
Right: Adding an event with help of Flexibits’ natural language engine

Flexibits, developers of the excellent Fantastical app for Mac OS (my favorite calendar app by far on the Mac thanks to its beautiful and unobtrusive design), has finally released the long-awaited Fantastical for iPhone. What makes Fantastical special? For starters, its natural language engine rocks, and this feature has made its way on to the iPhone. So you can type (or dictate if your iDevice supports it) events like “Have lunch with Bob at 123 Awesome blvd. next Monday at 1pm” and the app will enter all the appropriate details for you. In addition, Fantastical’s unique DayTicker UI makes it a breeze to view your past/upcoming schedule at a glance.

What’s to like:

  • DayTicker an intuitive and quick way to view items in your Calendar
  • Scrolling up/down through events in DayTicker mode also brings into focus the respective day under a “magnifying lens”
  • Pull down on DayTicker row to turn into month calendar (pull down to switch back to DayTicker)
  • Tap ‘+’ sign or tap-and-hold on a date to create event
  • When adding an event, you can pull left or right on the preview window to see other other events (and their times) that have already been scheduled
  • Tap on the top bar (where Month/Year is displayed) and it’ll bring you back to the current day (works in both in DayTicker or Month view)
  • Flexbit’s Natural language engine makes it extremely quick and easy to create events – especially when using the dictation feature (Fantastical recognizes holidays, days of the week, the location of your event, repeating events, and more)
  • Several languages are supported, including English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish
  • No setup required. App imports all calendars within iOS

What’s not to like:

  • No landscape mode
  • No week view
  • No iPad version (yet)

From Flexibits’ Tips and Tricks page, here are some examples sentences you can use to create an event:

  • Grocery shopping at Wegmans Thursday at 5pm
  • Lunch with Matthew at 123 Main St at 1:30 Monday
  • Family vacation from August 9-18
  • Soccer practice every Tuesday at 6
  • Sam’s birthday every year on 5/16

Over the past two years, I’ve gone back and forth between Agenda Calendar, Calvetica and Calendars by Readdle on my iPhone, but I think I’ll be using Fantastical from here on out. It may not be as fully featured as the competition, but the fact that it understands ‘natural language’ makes it significantly faster to input events, and I’ve really come to like implementation of the DayTicker. It’s also infinitely better looking and easier to use than iOS’ own Calendar app.

Currently Fantastical for iPhone is on sale at $1.99 (50% off). If you’re not too keen on Apple’s calendar app, or haven’t found the “one” just yet, Flexibits’ latest addition is certainly worth checking out. One more thing: Fantastical for Mac is also on sale at $9.99 (50%) to celebrate the iPhone launch.

Check out the video below to see some of its features in action.

Fantastical Flexibits, Fantastical – $1.99

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