Calendar is a very important app for any smartphone. Though Apple’s offering does the job for most people, I have been a huge Fantastical user from day 1. It’s a lovely app with a powerful natural language engine. When Any.Do Cal was launched, I downloaded the app not expecting much from it. Boy was I wrong!
What I like
The icon for the app is simple, void of any fancy textures or elements. A red icon with a bit of white drawn-in fits in perfectly with the app’s approach to design. Speaking of design, the app looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s another one of those apps that fits right in with iOS 7. Lots of white space, beautiful, simple font and red highlighting the important details of all your calendar events. I like the full calendar view with upcoming events showing on the lower portion of the month. When you scroll up, you’lll see just the week you are on and a better view of your day ahead.
The app uses photo themes that will show up all throughout the app. It’s a nice touch. Also, if you sync with your contacts you will be able to see images of people who are celebrating a birthday on that day splattered across the screen nicely. There really is no excuse to forget someone’s birthday now.
The app animates well with each swipe across the app. Entering appointments are easy with an ever-existing “+” icon on the top right. Though Any.Do Cal understands some natural language, their engine is not as powerful as Fantastical’s. Hopefully, they’ll improve with future updates. When you setup meetings, you can add locations and attendees, which will show up with maps and images across each meeting. A very nice touch that feels very modern. You can also send invites and message the people included in each meeting.
The overall look and feel of the app makes it feel like this is the way a calendar should look and work. You can also connect the app with the company’s Any.Do task app so that your tasks show up on this app as well. Any.Do Cal is very visual and you can almost feel good entering new appointments like never before. I hate to say it, but it makes calendaring… fun.
What I don’t like
I would have loved to see other view options. Sometimes you want to get a bird’s eye view of your whole week. The only view you have is basically the agenda view which means you are left swiping day by day to see the week ahead.
Another odd omission is the lack of search functionality. I rely on search to find birthdays or events that have happened or that will come up soon. If I don’t know the details, I’m pretty much out of luck. This is something that seems like a very bad decision. Any app today should have a decent search functionality.
One of the things that is perhaps most concerning is the lack of business model for the company. The app is free, with no ads and no in-app purchases. How do they make money? As a user, this is concerning because history shows that apps that build platforms without a way to make money usually do with the dream of getting bought out by the big companies (Facebooks, Google, Apple, etc…). The reason why I loathe this approach is the change that comes as a result of an acquisition. I have already gotten burned a few times with apps that end up being acquired by a big company who either stop supporting development of the app or just become privacy nightmares. I don’t mind paying for apps to support development, but you have to show me a sustainable business model.
Overall, Any.Do Cal is a great app. There are some odd omissions, but I can honestly say it has replaced Fantastical on my iPhone Dock. I’m not sure if it will live there for long. I’m still a little scared about their business model that may make the app’s existence on my dock very limited. Let’s see how far it makes it.