Last night, Apple began approving apps built against the iOS 7 SDK. To be clear though, from what I can tell it’s only apps that are compatible with both iOS 6 and 7, and not those that are exclusive to the upcoming OS. There are two very nice examples that hit the store last night.
Reeder has always been my RSS app of choice on the iPhone. While it’s easy to point out that the development cycle is rather slow, we have to consider how solid the app has been over the last 3 years. Version 2—I assume the version number rolled back due to the new universal binary—is a great example of how to both fit in with iOS 7, and remain unique in design. I mean, everything, from the smooth animations to the renewed interface is nearly perfect. As always, Federico Viticci has a comprehensive and thoughtful review, so I won’t dwell on the app too long. But suffice it to say that it’s a really nice visual refresh. With that said, I have a few gripes. First off, while I’m happy to see the inclusion of Feed Wrangler Smart Streams, the implementation is weird, as Federico points out:
For Feed Wrangler, Smart Streams are shown below websites – a decision that I don’t like as I prefer having streams as top-level items I can easily access rather than folders tucked away at the bottom of the screen. For folders, a new option lets you choose to open them as a list of websites or items with a swipe gesture.
Much like Federico, I’m not thrilled with this. The screen is far too busy with all your feeds and streams together, and having streams on the bottom makes zero sense to me. On top of that there are no options for font changes, or a dark mode (please add this, Silvio. Please). Maybe they’ll come later, but who knows. I’m not holding my breath.
Overall, I’m glad I paid for the new version. Coughing up a measly $3 a few years ago felt like stealing, and I’m happy to do my part in continuing to support the developer. Reeder is—and has always been— the king of iPhone RSS reading, but only time will tell if the release schedule speeds up a bit.
Another nice surprise last night was Readdle’s new version of Calendars making its debut on the store. I was lucky enough to give the app a run over the last week, and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. Since I’ve only had limited time with it, I’ll again defer to Federico:
I thought my review of Calendars 5 was going to be short, but I ended up analyzing smaller details because, with so many calendar apps out there, I feel those are the aspects that make a difference for me.
Calendars looks good, integrates with iOS calendars and reminders, is responsive, and intelligently unifies events and tasks. The app is packed with nice and thoughtful touches for event browsing and management, and the addition of natural language input is welcome. Calendars has the best combination of natural language and recurring settings I’ve seen on iOS to date, and that’s a big plus in my opinion. Drag & drop, search, gestures, and a URL scheme are the proverbial icing on the cake that sweetens the deal.
I am in total agreement with in terms of where the app shines, and where it could use a little love:
Calendars needs clearer and simpler Reminders integration and support for external browsers. From this standpoint, Agenda is far superior: Savvy Apps’ client displays exactly the same reminders I have in iCloud (with no list or date artifacts) and it comes with a rich selection of external apps to open web and map links. Calendars can’t even recognize URLs attached to notes[…]
Make sure to read MacStories’s whole review.
My favorite part of the app by far is its list view. Everything is laid out cleanly, and the little touches in animation make it a joy to use. I’m not sure if Calendars can unseat Agenda or Fantastical, but I will say that it’s surely a contender not to be taken lightly. The bottom line is that I use iCloud calendars a lot and any app in this space that lasts for more than a day on my phone is worth a look.
I’m definitely going to continue to use Calendars 5 for now and give it a hard run. I’ll write up an update after I’ve really put it through its paces.