Things – Review

On July 26, 2008

App Type: Uncategorized

Things – Review

Our rating:

By: Cultured Code

Version #: 1

Date Released: 2008-07-10


Price: 9.99

User Rating:

Things is a nice task program nice. Not great. Not Good. Just… nice.

I used CulturedCode’s desktop version of Things briefly a few months ago and liked a lot about it. It is a well conceived, easy to use application based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. It has a terrific UI and is clearly the result of coders with a great deal of sensitivity to the "app bloat" that plagues so many similar applications. (When learning how to use my task management program becomes a task in itself you know there is a problem.) A task management program should make life easier and LESS complex and Things accomplishes that. Moreover, it feels every bit like the Mac Task program it is and is only $39 until it is formally released some time this summer. (At the time of release the price jumps to $49.) While $39 or $49 is not cheap it is half the price of OmniFocus and in both cases you are paying for full featured, well executed task programs.

So if I like Things so much why don’t I use it? Because Things is currently desktop/notebook ONLY. There is no web access. And, until now, no iPhone/Touch resident or web app. This is a non-starter for me since the whole reason for using an iPhone instead of a "phone only" is that it frees me from my desktop in many ways and allows me to do everything I need to do right from my handheld. Call me picky but no matter how good it is, a task management program that requires me to be in front of my computer is WORTHLESS to me.

So the release of Things for iPhone and iPod Touch makes Things THE task management program of choice, right? Wrong.

Things for iPhone and iPod Touch is beautiful. The interface is clean, nice and intuitive. The folks at Cultured Code kept good on their promise to avoid "bloat". In doing so, however, they did not include some aspects of OmniFocus for iPhone that I really like (Yes, I have both apps on my iPhone for review purposes) such attaching a voice or photo note to a task. Those abilities aren’t "bloat" but rather functions that make task management on the iPhone unique.
At the same time, Things feels far quicker which, when you need to check or add something in a rush, makes a huge difference.

I like the look and feel of Things for iPhone and I can even forgive the complete lack of documentation since it is so intuitively designed. In its current form, however, it is entirely UNUSABLE for me. Why? Let me allow the developers to explain it for me-

There were a few trade-offs involved (with getting Things for iPhone into the App Store on Day 1)… syncing with the desktop version of Things is not yet possible in 1.0. Based on your feedback we decided that seamless over the air sync with the desktop version is a must. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to ready this feature in time for the App Store launch. Releasing a critical feature like this under time pressure without extensive testing is a big no no. Plus, iTunes automatically backups your to-dos every time you connect your iPhone, so data loss is not an issue. Of course, we could have delayed Things touch in order to implement full syncing. But considering the more than 100 amazing responses to our previous iPhone article, it was completely obvious that releasing Things touch even a single day later than absolutely necessary was not an option.

So Things For iPhone 1.0.0 shipped without syncing. It is a nice app but it also happens to be a nice app that does not integrate with anything else.

Moreover, the good folks at Cultured Code posted a comment recently that version 1.0.1 is awaiting Apple’s approval BUT DOES NOT yet include syncing. "Syncing is…", they wrote, "still being worked on 🙂 "

No synching with the ($39-$49) desktop program and they still charge $9.99 for the app? Sorry, I’m not buying it.
Actually, I already bought it so…
 No synching with the ($39-$49) desktop program and they still charge $9.99 for the app? Sorry, I’m not using it.

Aside: The folks at eReader rushed their app out the door too and in doing so had to leave off some important functionality that will be added at a later date. They did, however, make sure to include the core features that make using an iPhone or iPod Touch as an ebook reader possible. In my opinion syncing with the desktop application is a CORE feature. I do not believe the application should have been shipped without it.

Will I move to Things when/if syncing arrives? I might but something tells me that by then I will be deep into using something else that already syncs (and, unfortunately for Cultured Code, there are already some good options.)

Quick Take:

Value: As a stand-alone app 9/10, As part of an integrated system 0/10
Would I Buy Again: In its current for without syncing- no way
Learning Curve: Low
Who is it for: People only using their iPhone for GTD-type organization 
What I like: Clean interface, face, intuitive
What I Don’t: Lack of sync, inability to add voice or photo notes to tasks

Final Statement:

If you want a nice, stand-alone task program based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology Things for iPhone might be a good choice. (Although I would first check to see if any of the free offerings on the App Store might meet your needs.) If you need a task program that sync to your desktop or a web app this is definitely not for you right now. I’m sure the folks at Cultured Code will make good on their promise to add syncing some time in the future, but to ask people to pony up $10 on a promise and, for now, make due when there are other products that already DO offer syncing, strikes me as a bit odd.

Read the Developer's Notes:
Other task managers either oversimplify or are too difficult to use. Either way you are not getting stuff done. Things instead has the right balance between ease of use and powerful features.- Add to-dos, notes, due dates, and projects.
- Schedule tasks you want to start later.
- See what's upcoming and create your agenda for today.With Things' elegance and beautiful design, procrastinating never looked less attractive.Visit our web site to find out exactly how Things works.Take advantage of our introductory price which will only be available for a short time. O U R   T A K E . . .

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danc has written 224 awesome app reviews.