Tag Archives: calendar

Apple’s iCloud Calendar + Reminders web apps are currently down [U: Fixed for some]

iCloud Calendar[Update: The issues seem to be resolved around 12:00 PM EST.]

[Update 2x: Apple has also acknowledged the outage on its system status page noting that it began last night and may still be ongoing.]

No word on Apple’s official iCloud system status page, but the Calendar and Reminders web apps on iCloud.com are currently down as several readers have pointed out. We’ve tested it here and the above error was returned. Apple’s iMessage service suffered a similar outage earlier this week with users reporting widespread downtime. Other iCloud web apps appear to be working properly. We’ll keep an eye on the outage and update if anything changes, but if you’re seeing the outage it’s not just you.


Filed under: Apps Tagged: calendar, icloud, iCloud outage, outage, Reminders

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Fantastical calendar app lands on the Apple Watch with full Reminders support

Fantastical 10 Fantastical 10 Fantastical 9 Fantastical 12

When Apple Watch and Watch OS 1.0 shipped in April, the definite omission of an Apple Reminders app on the platform was particularly surprising to me. The Apple Watch User Guide even highlights the app’s absence:

There’s no Reminders app on Apple Watch, but Apple Watch notifies you of reminders you create in the Reminders app on your iPhone—and on any other iOS device or Mac that’s signed in using your Apple ID. Also, you can create reminders using Siri on Apple Watch.

Creating and responding to reminders is fine, but my girlfriend and I use a shared iCloud Reminders list for our grocery list, and being able to glance at the watch as you walk through the supermarket without pulling out the iPhone is an ideal use case for Apple Watch. Fortunately, Flexibits has developed a new version of its Fantastical app for iPhone that brings the full Reminders experience to Apple Watch, fulfilling an important use case for the watch I had in mind before it arrived.

Fantastical for Apple Watch also brings the excellent streamlined calendar list view to the watch, complete with the app’s easy-to-use natural language parsing feature that sets it apart from Apple’s own calendar app…

Even if you’re a fan of Apple’s built-in Calendar on Apple Watch, Fantastical’s unified list view of upcoming calendar entries and reminder items offers a bit of a bird’s eye view of your schedule on the watch. Fantastical’s dark user interface with splashes of color representing specific calendars or reminder lists fits right in with Watch OS, and you can still use Apple’s calendar app on Apple Watch for viewing the calendar as a full month or timeline of the current day by the hour.

Fantastical can’t yet include a watch face complication like Apple’s calendar app, but that’s certainly in the cards for developers in the future as Mark has reported. Fantastical does include an attractive and useful glance that you can swipe up from the watch face. The Fantastical glance features a horizontal timeline across the top with your next event or reminder item and appointment time below, or if the rest of your calendar is clear for the day, you get a friendly Fantastical character encouraging you to enjoy your open schedule.

Fantastical 15 Fantastical 14 Fantastical 16

Tapping the Fantastical glance behaves like any other third-party glance and opens the corresponding app from the watch face. I do find that the Fantastical’s darker colored glance fits in much better on Apple Watch than Apple’s mostly white, card-like glance, but you’re free to use either, both, or neither and still enjoy Fantastical. I’m personally only using Fantastical’s glance as I don’t find that Apple’s Calendar glance adds much additional information, if any.

As I mentioned enthusiastically at the top, Fantastical brings Reminders to Apple Watch in a big way. Where Apple stops at alerts and creating new reminders, Fantastical lets you view whole lists of reminders including notes or URLs included. This makes using Apple Watch as a convenient portal into my shopping list at the supermarket a possibility. You can use Siri to say something like “Add milk to my shopping list” and it appears right in the app. Similarly, firmly press within any given reminders list to add a new item to that specific list. The same method using Force Touch applies to creating calendar events from the calendar list view.

Fantastical 5 Fantastical 6 Fantastical 7 Fantastical 8

Because Fantastical reads your Reminders with a capital R, you can use Apple’s official Reminders app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and still enjoy Fantastical on Apple Watch as your iCloud-syncing, true Reminders solution. Other apps offer similar list functionality, but don’t speak the same language as Apple’s iCloud-syncing Reminders. Using Fantastical on Apple Watch for Reminders has been among my favorite Apple Watch app experiences yet if you haven’t guessed yet that.

There are also other goodies with Fantastical for Apple Watch like handoff support to the Mac. Customization options on Fantastical for iPhone let you set whether you even want to see events on Apple Watch, or reminders on Apple Watch, what the Fantastical glance displays, whether or not reminders are organized by lists or if that view is removed from the hierarchy on the watch, and more.

Fantastical 4

Fantastical 2 for iPhone and now Apple Watch is available as a free update to the latest version of the app. New Fantastical customers can purchase the app for iPhone and Apple Watch for $4.99 on the App Store. Fantastical 2 is also available on iPad and most recently the Mac as a full calendar solution.


Filed under: Apple Watch, Apps, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple watch, Apple Watch apps, calendar, Fantastical, icloud, iPhone, Reminders

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Fantastical calendar app lands on the Apple Watch with full Reminders support

Fantastical 10 Fantastical 10 Fantastical 9 Fantastical 12

When Apple Watch and Watch OS 1.0 shipped in April, the definite omission of an Apple Reminders app on the platform was particularly surprising to me. The Apple Watch User Guide even highlights the app’s absence:

There’s no Reminders app on Apple Watch, but Apple Watch notifies you of reminders you create in the Reminders app on your iPhone—and on any other iOS device or Mac that’s signed in using your Apple ID. Also, you can create reminders using Siri on Apple Watch.

Creating and responding to reminders is fine, but my girlfriend and I use a shared iCloud Reminders list for our grocery list, and being able to glance at the watch as you walk through the supermarket without pulling out the iPhone is an ideal use case for Apple Watch. Fortunately, Flexibits has developed a new version of its Fantastical app for iPhone that brings the full Reminders experience to Apple Watch, fulfilling an important use case for the watch I had in mind before it arrived.

Fantastical for Apple Watch also brings the excellent streamlined calendar list view to the watch, complete with the app’s easy-to-use natural language parsing feature that sets it apart from Apple’s own calendar app…

Even if you’re a fan of Apple’s built-in Calendar on Apple Watch, Fantastical’s unified list view of upcoming calendar entries and reminder items offers a bit of a bird’s eye view of your schedule on the watch. Fantastical’s dark user interface with splashes of color representing specific calendars or reminder lists fits right in with Watch OS, and you can still use Apple’s calendar app on Apple Watch for viewing the calendar as a full month or timeline of the current day by the hour.

Fantastical can’t yet include a watch face complication like Apple’s calendar app, but that’s certainly in the cards for developers in the future as Mark has reported. Fantastical does include an attractive and useful glance that you can swipe up from the watch face. The Fantastical glance features a horizontal timeline across the top with your next event or reminder item and appointment time below, or if the rest of your calendar is clear for the day, you get a friendly Fantastical character encouraging you to enjoy your open schedule.

Fantastical 15 Fantastical 14 Fantastical 16

Tapping the Fantastical glance behaves like any other third-party glance and opens the corresponding app from the watch face. I do find that the Fantastical’s darker colored glance fits in much better on Apple Watch than Apple’s mostly white, card-like glance, but you’re free to use either, both, or neither and still enjoy Fantastical. I’m personally only using Fantastical’s glance as I don’t find that Apple’s Calendar glance adds much additional information, if any.

As I mentioned enthusiastically at the top, Fantastical brings Reminders to Apple Watch in a big way. Where Apple stops at alerts and creating new reminders, Fantastical lets you view whole lists of reminders including notes or URLs included. This makes using Apple Watch as a convenient portal into my shopping list at the supermarket a possibility. You can use Siri to say something like “Add milk to my shopping list” and it appears right in the app. Similarly, firmly press within any given reminders list to add a new item to that specific list. The same method using Force Touch applies to creating calendar events from the calendar list view.

Fantastical 5 Fantastical 6 Fantastical 7 Fantastical 8

Because Fantastical reads your Reminders with a capital R, you can use Apple’s official Reminders app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and still enjoy Fantastical on Apple Watch as your iCloud-syncing, true Reminders solution. Other apps offer similar list functionality, but don’t speak the same language as Apple’s iCloud-syncing Reminders. Using Fantastical on Apple Watch for Reminders has been among my favorite Apple Watch app experiences yet if you haven’t guessed yet that.

There are also other goodies with Fantastical for Apple Watch like handoff support to the Mac. Customization options on Fantastical for iPhone let you set whether you even want to see events on Apple Watch, or reminders on Apple Watch, what the Fantastical glance displays, whether or not reminders are organized by lists or if that view is removed from the hierarchy on the watch, and more.

Fantastical 4

Fantastical 2 for iPhone and now Apple Watch is available as a free update to the latest version of the app. New Fantastical customers can purchase the app for iPhone and Apple Watch for $4.99 on the App Store. Fantastical 2 is also available on iPad and most recently the Mac as a full calendar solution.


Filed under: Apple Watch, Apps, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple watch, Apple Watch apps, calendar, Fantastical, icloud, iPhone, Reminders

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Flexibits announces upcoming Fantastical for Apple Watch app

Fantastical Apple Watch

Flexibits, makers of Fantastical 2, just announced an upcoming version of the super useful calendar app coming to the Apple Watch. Included in the teaser is the above preview of Fantastical made for the Apple Watch. We’ll have a full hands-on review of the new app when it launches so stay posted for that. In the meantime, check out our review of the recently released Fantastical 2 for Mac, which takes the natural language parsing calendar from a menu bar app to a full fledged calendar with a complete Yosemite redesign. You can grab Fantastical 2 for iPhone from the App Store for $4.99 to be ready for the Apple Watch update.


Filed under: Apple Watch, Apps Tagged: Apple watch, Apple Watch apps, calendar, Fantastical, Fantastical 2, Flexibits, natural language input, Reminders

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Moleskine brings stylish notebook aesthetics to calendar app, integrating maps, contacts & weather

Moleskin calendar
As someone who does everything electronically, I’m always slightly bemused by people who still use pen and paper – but there is something about Moleskine notebooks that does occasionally make me wonder just a little if I’m missing out. The company today appears to be targeting people like me, with an app that brings the stylish, minimalist aesthetics of the notebooks to a new iPhone and Apple Watch app.

Moleskine Timepage aims to integrate your iCloud, Google and Microsoft Exchange calendars with contacts, maps and weather. For appointments elsewhere, it will display a map of the location, show you the travel time by car, public transit, cycling or walking – and show what the weather will be like when you get there … 

You can choose from thirteen Moleskine colors for the app’s pages, and decide how many days to view in the free-flowing timeline. You can also use natural language to add appointments, like “Coffee with George at Monks.”

I use multiple color-coded calendars so I can see at-a-glance not just what I’m doing, but what category it belongs to (tech writing, novel writing, social, etc), so I don’t think the solid color pages will work for me, but I’d otherwise be tempted to take it for a spin.

The company suggested last year that there was a good overlap between Apple and Moleskine customers, its CEO noting that its retail stores do better when they are close to an Apple Store.

Moleskine Timepage costs $4.99 from iTunes and is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, with a companion app on the Watch. Check out the full feature list below.

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FEATURES:

• Your schedule is presented as a continuous timeline, making it easy to view a whole week at a glance or keep scrolling into the future to see what is coming up.

• A fully featured weather app with beautiful interactive charts is built-in so you can plan for the day.

• Adding events is as simple as typing something like “Coffee with George at Monks” and Timepage will take care of the details.

• Elegant single day and event views that keeps you focussed with info like “1 hour free after this until Meeting at 4pm”.

• Get travel time and directions for your events by car, public transit, cycling or walking.

• Works with Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange (2007 with EWS) and Apple iCloud.

• Personalise your calendar by choosing how many days to show and selecting from thirteen Moleskine colors.

FOR APPLE WATCH:

• See your day-by-day schedule for the next week.

• Weather information with rain and temperature graphs so you know how to prepare.

• Maps show how to get to your next event and transit times for walking, cycling, driving and public transit.

• Glance view that shows how long until your next event and how long it will take to get there.

• Contact information and event notes are right there on your wrist.

• Event reminders will tap you on the wrist.

• Handoff from any day to your iPhone for quickly adding a new event.


Filed under: Apps Tagged: Apple watch, Apple Watch apps, calendar, iPhone, Moleskine

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Apple’s ‘Proactive’ to take on Google Now with deep iOS 9 search, Augmented Reality Maps, Siri API

Spotlight

After several years of quiet development, Apple is readying a major new iOS initiative codenamed “Proactive,” which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now for Android devices. Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.

As an evolution of iOS’s Spotlight search feature, Proactive is the fruit of a long-term initiative that involved the acquisition of small app developers, and integration of core iOS apps. It will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display personally relevant points of interest using an augmented reality interface, and integrate with a third-party Siri API codenamed “Breadcrumbs”…

How Spotlight Will Become A Google Now Rival

Apple began to lay the groundwork for Proactive with its acquisition of a personal assistant app called Cue in 2013, seeking to relevantly broaden iOS’s Spotlight and Safari search results. iOS 8’s ability to display Wikipedia Search results within Spotlight was the first taste of the Proactive initiative, and was partially designed to reduce iOS’s search reliance on Google. Sources say that Apple’s internal iOS usage metrics indicate that Google clicks have indeed fallen since iOS 8’s release last fall.

Now Apple wants to take Proactive to the next level, and it may do so with iOS 9’s introduction at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8. While Apple has positioned Siri as an “intelligent personal assistant” since the fall 2011 launch of the iPhone 4S, Proactive will go much further to integrate with your data. To begin with, Proactive will become a new layer within the iOS operating system, replacing the pulldown Spotlight menu currently found on the iOS Home screen.

Interestingly, Proactive will be found to the left of the first Home screen, just as Spotlight was prior to iOS 7’s major redesign. According to sources, Apple’s usage metrics for iOS suggest that Spotlight is not used as frequently as it could be because it is hidden above the Home screen without any indication of its location. Adding the feature back to the left of the Home screen will presumably boost usage, and consequently, take searches away from Google’s window within Safari. Sources note that some builds of iOS 9 allow Proactive to be accessed both with pulldown and left-of-Home screen gestures, so it’s possible that pulldown Spotlight-style access will be retained.

Cue app bought by Apple

Cue app bought by Apple

Within the new Proactive screen, users will have a dedicated Search Bar at the top to access the established features of Spotlight: users will still be able to search for names, launch apps, and find audio tracks. Sources indicate that Proactive will include a greater emphasis on displaying news stories as search results, and will more reliably display news results when you search for information, including news on current topics and famous people.

Below the search bar will sit a new user interface that automatically populates with content based around three key parts of iOS: Apps, Contacts, and Maps, effectively a considerably upgraded version of Siri’s existing “digital assistant” functionality. For example, if a user has a flight listed in her Calendar application and a boarding pass stored in Passbook, a bubble within the new Proactive screen will appear around flight time to provide quick access to the boarding pass. If a user has a calendar appointment coming up, a map view could appear with an estimated arrival time, directions, and a time to leave indicator based on traffic. Proactive will also be able to trigger push notifications to help the user avoid missing calendar events. Even with these new notifications, however, the existing Notification Center apparently isn’t likely to see major changes.

Beyond Calendar integration, the feature will be able to integrate with commonly used apps. For example, if an iPhone user typically opens the Facebook app when he wakes up around 9AM, a button to access Facebook will start to appear for the user around 9AM. If the user calls his mother every Tuesday at 5PM, a bubble to “Call Mom” could appear around that time every Tuesday. As this feature integrates deeply with a user’s contact list, it is likely that the Recent Contacts menu introduced to the top of the Multitasking pane in iOS 8 will be relocated to Proactive’s interface. Lastly, Proactive will be able to display restaurant suggestions and ratings around breakfast, lunch, and dinner times in Proactive, changing based on the user’s location. Some of these features come from Apple’s acquisition of Spotsetter, a social-based search engine company founded by ex-Google Maps engineer Stephen Tse and Jonny Lee.

Yelp's Monocle feature

Yelp’s Monocle feature

Augmented Reality Maps, Browse Around Me

Beyond the new Spotlight interface, improvements to Maps will be a focal point for the Proactive initiative. In addition to a new public transportation service for bus, train, and subway routes, Apple is overhauling its Points of Interest (POI) system for the iOS Apple Maps application. While sources say Apple has explored new or expanded deals with Foursquare, Yelp, and Nokia’s HERE, the company ultimately decided to build its own new POI system for Proactive. Apple has developed a pair of new features around the POI system: an augmented reality view for local listings, as well as a feature dubbed “Browse Around Me.”

The augmented reality feature allows a user to hold up her iPhone in the Maps application, and point her camera toward a particular business or an area. Pointed towards a cafe, for example, the screen could show a virtual view of menu items or daily specials. If the user points her phone toward a street, a virtual outline of local businesses, restaurants, shopping stores, or coffee shops could appear. As a separate feature, the Browse Around Me button could simply show points of interest on an overhead map that are more tailored to previous searches and user preferences, a less flashy version of the augmented reality feature that’s similar to what Spotsetter was offering prior to its acquisition. Apple may choose to solely ship the Browse Around Me feature in iOS 9 and hold back the more extravagant augmented reality feature until later, the sources warned.

In order to develop this enhanced version of Maps into a small revenue source, Apple considered specifically highlighting points-of-interest that support Apple Pay transactions. However, this feature was cancelled amid development, according to a source with knowledge of the decision. Reports published during the initial launch of Apple Pay indicated that Apple takes 0.15% of every Apple Pay transaction conducted via an iPhone or Apple Watch.

“Breadcrumbs:” A Limited Siri API To Address User Privacy Concerns

Apple does not want to launch Proactive solely with support for its own apps and data. According to sources, Apple is preparing to allow developers to integrate their applications into both iOS’s search results and Siri, which has been redesigned to be more colorful in iOS 9, akin to its Apple Watch interface. While Apple has worked on a full Siri API that lets Siri access third-party app content, sources say the company is more likely to introduce a scaled-down service for developers codenamed “Breadcrumbs.” The decision is apparently based on a concern that a deeply integrated Siri will misinterpret words or contexts, sending personal data to the wrong third-party apps, and creating privacy issues, according to the sources.

Breadcrumbs allows Proactive and Siri to index parts of apps that have recently been accessed, and is apparently similar to the App Indexing feature Google announced previously for Android, and today for iOS. For instance, if a user typically watches certain genres of movies in the Netflix app, the ability to launch that particular section in the Netflix app could be opened by Siri. Eventually, Apple hopes to release a full Siri API for developers, but the company will not do so until all potential privacy concerns are sorted out. As one source said, “Apple’s talk about user-privacy is not marketing, it is core to [Apple’s] product development process.”

meet-craig-federighi-the-apple-executive-who-dominated-apples-big-presentation-today

Executives Mixed on Rollout

While all of the aforementioned features are far into development, none of them as described are a lock for iOS 9.0 due to Apple’s new focus on maintaining (and improving) quality in iOS and OS X. According to sources, Vice President of Product Management for iOS and OS X Kim Vorrath has been reluctant to launch the new Proactive initiative with such an ambitious set of features.

Apple would rather launch scaled down incarnations of the aforementioned enhancements and then improve the feature over time, according to the sources. Nonetheless, these features are currently in development within Apple’s Software Engineering department, and the scale at which they launch will become clear at Apple’s June 8th Worldwide Developers Conference kickoff keynote. Sources indicate that Apple’s marketing department will determine whether the features are launched under the Proactive umbrella name, or described as upgrades to existing features such as Spotlight, Maps, Contacts, Calendars, and Siri.

In addition to developing its new Proactive features, Apple is working on a series of other updates for iOS 9. As we have reported, Apple is developing a new streaming music service based on its acquisition of Beats Electronics, a new Home app for managing home automation accessories, a refreshed look for iPhones and iPads with the new San Francisco typeface, new security and optimization features, iPad split-screen apps, a new keyboard, and iMessage improvements.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, Apps, calendar, contacts, craig federighi, Cue, Facebook, Google, iOS 10, iOS 8, iOS 9, Kim Vorrath, maps, Passbook, Siri

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Sunrise Calendar on iOS adds new “Meet” keyboard to quickly schedule meetings

screen322x572

Sunrise, the company behind the popular Mac and iOS calendar apps, today launched a new feature called Meet. Meet is not integrated how might expect, though. It’s actually a keyboard designed by Sunrise for quickly scheduling one-to-one meetings.

Since Meet is a keyboard, it can be accessed from anywhere within iOS, including other apps. The process is relatively simple. With the keyboard, you can pick available spots within the week view of their calendar and schedule one-on-one meetings. After you choose a date to hold the meeting, you can simply send the date to anyone else using a shortlink. The person on the other side must then pick the date that works for them, and when you agree, the event is automatically added to both calendars.

Meet is a keyboard for iOS 8 that lets you schedule one-to-ones right from where you are, without having to reach out for your calendar. You get to pick available spots in your week from your keyboard and send them to anyone through one short link. When the person on the other side picks the time that works best for them, the event is automatically added to both your calendars. And voilà!

Meet is available in version 4.0 of Sunrise, which is available on the App Store now for free.


Filed under: iOS Tagged: app, calendar, iOS, meet, Sunrise, Sunrise Calendar, update

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