So the media has started to adopt a new phrase in the iOS market for a ‘new breed’ of calendar apps. So let us explain what you should probably know about Smart Calendars.
1. They can be intrusive
Just like any app, if they are giving the product away, it is likely because they will hook you later or YOU are the product. What that means is, they approach features in such a way that they can collect your data while they are doing things on their servers. So not only do you need an internet connection to do a lot of calendaring things, but they are collecting information from you, which ultimately might be sold.
For example, Apple has set it up so it is very easy to see your Facebook events in any calendar that uses Apple’s own Event data. Just turn it on in Settings > Facebook. But to go ‘further’ a lot of these ‘smart’ apps require you to sign into Facebook so they can interact with your events directly, Oh and see your other Facebook information. This may be needed if you really really need to edit and live by your Facebook calendar, but do you? And arent you more likely to see it directly from Facebook?!
2. They aren’t necessarily very smart yet.
So the new smart calendars are supposed to give you this idea that they have way more functionality than existing calendars. Most don’t. Not even close. And a lot of reviewers don’t really understand the market so will believe the app’s hype. They buy into buzzwords.
For example, I just read an article/review that bragged about how this new ‘Smart’ app has sync so can interact with Exchange/iCloud, etc… Well guess what, that is just what you get when you use Apple’s event databases. It is the same sync that all of our apps have. The default calendar app has it. So why is this special?!
So a lot of these ‘smart calendars’ have even less of the great features that established apps in the market have had for a long time. More view types, drag-n-drop and moving and copying, multiple alarms, advanced repeating options, templates, more information displayed, the list goes on and on… Just stop and compare more established apps like our Extreme Agenda and The Grid, and other veteran apps like Pocket Informant and Week Calendar. And the established apps have proven their ability to update and are more likely to keep improving and can catch up quickly, with the better features like weather, natural language entry, smarter locations all already added or coming soon..
These new apps are simply too new and have sacrificed on features in order to look pretty and ultimately get your data.
Some of them do offer very neat ideas for integrated features. But those killer new smart features don’t always work very well. There are a lot of predictive tying of data together and displaying of educated guesses. But if the prediction is wrong, which IT IS A LOT, or can’t be filtered well then it actually makes the feature more of a nuisance. Who wants to be shown the wrong location on a map or shown the wrong connected contact. They could be handy when they are ironed out, but rely on connectivity and a lot of data to work seemlessly together.
So just remember ‘Smart’ is just an idea. I think all calendars are moving to be ‘smarter’, but be sure to think about what the company is ultimately trying to do. A lot of the more established apps are a lot smarter than anything that has gotten that tag lately…
by Brian Heilman - My Google+