Pocket Informant HD is this week’s iPad App of the Week because it now syncs with the built-in iOS calendar on both the iPad and the iPhone. It is an advanced personal information manager that focuses on calendar and task management.
Pocket Informant HD syncs with Google Calendar and Toodledo among other things to keep you on task and on time. We think it will help make us more productive so we wanted to highlight it as this week’s iPad App of the Week. The strength of Pocket Informant HD is that it organizes your dates and tasks in an attractive and easy to use format. It borrows its theme from a paper calendar that you might carry around with you having tabs for the various sections of the app.
Functionality and User Interface
Before you even open the app Pocket Informant HD informs the user. There is a number “badge” that is super-imposed over the app icon. We set it up to show the number of tasks due today, but that can be personalized in the settings tab of the app.
The first red tab is a “Today” tab. Along the left it shows an hourly calendar of events for the day. At the top is the date. The right hand page is all the Events, Tasks, and Alarms for that day. From that page users can add both tasks and events using the two buttons in the upper right. They look like plus signs with the Tasks icon also having a check mark.
The blue calendar tab which has a calendar icon on it. The left hand side shows mini monthly calendars for the previous month, this month and the next few months. Users can scroll down to see the full year even going into the next few years, as far as you need to go. This is handy if you are checking dates well into the future.
On the calendar page on the right there are buttons for the following:
- Full Screen Mode – closes the left hand mini calendar page so the right hand page fills the screen
- List View – shows a listing of events on that day and by scrolling the listing of future events
- Days View – shows the next seven days and scrolling moves up and down in an hourly format while swiping advances to the next seven days
- Week View – shows this week starting on either Sunday, Monday or the current day with swiping going to the next week
- Month View – shows a full month at a glance with swiping advancing to the next month
From any view users can add both tasks and events with the plus sign buttons. There is also a search box to look for events or tasks.
One of the things we love about Pocket Informant is that the box to add an appointment has so many features. One includes the ability to add location information. Tap on the little location pointer at the right end of the Location box and a map pops up. Users can search for the address and the address as well as GPS coordinates will show up. That way, when it is time to go to the appointment, the map can be used to find it.
The tasks tab is purple and shows the number of tasks due today on the tab with a number badge. That number can be customized to show all tasks, over due tasks or today’s.
The list on this screen shows Overdue tasks, Due Today task, Due Tomorrow tasks and Undated tasks in that order. Users can also search tasks and add tasks from this screen. The left side of the screen shows all categories of tasks and how many there are of each. With just a tap, the user can filter the tasks to show only things like All Active, In Progress, etc.
Pocket Informant HD works with both Getting Things Done and Franklin Covey style task management. We don’t use them so we can’t say much about how well this works. For more information on how to use the Getting Things Done style, watch the help video at the WebIS website. The ability to use the tasks tab for simple list views is great for people who don’t use the above systems. So the app can be as advanced or simple as you need it to be for task management.
The final tab is yellow. This is where all the customization settings are found. From the user can change the way Pocket Informant HD works and looks. Currently the app only syncs with two third-party services – Google Calendar and Toodledo. The company has made attempts to get Remember The Milk, another task management service, up and running, but they have not received any response.
Syncing Calendars and Tasks
Pocket Informant will also sync with itself via the WebIS servers. WebIS is the maker of the app.
To sync with a computer calendar application will require additional software. Currently Pocket Informant supports syncing with Outlook, and Mac support for iCal as well as Exchange sync are coming.
The biggest addition of the latest version of Pocket Informant HD is the ability to sync appointments with the built-in iOS calendar. The user can open Pocket Informant HD and will see the iOS calendar appointments within the app. Because of this addition, we no longer use the built-in calendar. But let’s say we decide Pocket Informant HD is no longer meeting our needs. Since it syncs with the built-in calendar, we can just delete the app and go back to using the built-in calendar without loosing data. This is a huge addition and the reason we are making it this week’s iPad App of the Week. This feature requires iOS 4.0 to work.
We also love the Shake to Sync feature found under the Sync Settings page in Settings. With it the user can shake the iPad and the app syncs with the services previously configured.
Video Review of Pocket Informant HD for the iPad
Pocket Informant HD is a mature app. It has been around long before iOS. Users of the app for Palm or Windows Mobile will find it easy to adapt. For others it is challenging, but WebIS the maker has some good help for getting started including a help video.
The biggest weakness with Pocket Informant HD is the necessity of two different apps for the iPhone and iPad. We usually don’t recommend apps that require a double purchase. Universal apps, which allow customers to buy once and use on both the iPad and smaller iOS devices are preferred. But this app is so good, especially with the addition of syncing with the built-in iOS calendar, that we are going against our normal practice and recommending it. Pocket Informant HD is $14.99 in the App Store. The iPhone version is $12.99.
- Advanced calendar functions like repeating events and multiple alarms
- Syncs with built-in iOS calendar on iOS 4.0 or above
- Syncs with Google Calendar and Toodledo task manager
- Does both GTD and Franklin Covey task management
- Ability to put location maps in appointments
- Shake to sync is innovative
- Map based locations in add appointment box
- Requires two purchases to use on both iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch
- Can be difficult to learn
- Won’t sync Google tasks – but neither will anything else until Google adds this feature