Review : Things for iPad

Track tasks by project, date, or size in this flexible app.

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Product Manufacturer: Cultured Code

Price: $19.99 US

The Good

  • First GTD-task list for iPad. One of the best to-do apps. Simple and capable.

The Bad

  • Syncing is over Wi-Fi only with Things for Mac. Expensive.
The flexible task management list application, Things from Cultured Code, first appeared for the Mac and iPhone. Things for iPad launched at the same time as the iPad, and it is worth a look at what Cultured Code has done to make it a first-class iPad experience.

How do you make an application that is oriented around touch, may be less comprehensive than a Mac app, and isn't just a zoomed in iPhone app? I'm not sure, and I don't think Cultured Code knows either, because they didn't sacrifice any functionality of thes Mac version. Things for iPad takes advantage of the larger screen and two viewing orientations the iPad provides in an easy to use app.

iPad Interface

The app shows either to-dos only, or to-dos with the column off to the left side showing the levels of focus and projects. Portrait mode shows Projects or Lists only. When you rotate the iPad to Landscape mode, it shows the left column with levels of focus and projects.

Add New To-do

Projects in Landscape View

Things takes advantage of the new interface widgets that iPad provides. You tap in the upper right corner of the screen to create a new to-do. A popover appears that allows you to enter the name of the to-do, tags, notes, due date, and a list to which the to-do will be added. This works similarly to Things for the Mac Quick Entry.

Add New To-do

Add New To-do in Landscape View

To-Do Lists Make Sense

Things adds to-dos to the top of a list. This works well if you think in the order of last to first. It also allows you to add projects. Projects are for to-do lists that require more than one step. Without this, you end up having lists with to-dos that aren't related to one another and you couldn't really group them well. When you group by project, you can limit your focus to a larger goal and the to-dos that make up that goal.In this way, Things helps you organize better.

Add New To DOo

Add New To Do

Tags and Schedules

When you're working, you often want to focus on completing to-dos that can be done Today. Anything that you can't do Today should be in Next or Someday. Unfortunately, life isn't that neat and sometimes items you need to finish have a due date. When they have a due date, they're Scheduled tasks.

Tasks Sorted by Due Date

Tasks Sorted by Due Date

You can tag to-dos, so that if you have a note or description of a to-do that you use frequently, and if it is not the name of a project, it makes sense to tag these to-dos. Some tags that might make sense to use are a location context such as work, home, or errand. You can also tag a to-do with a priority level like high, medium, or low. You might even tag it with a time it takes to complete, such as 15min, or a level of difficulty, like easy or challenging.

GTD Ready

Things comes set-up for people who subscribe to the Getting Things Done (GTD) philosophy. It has an Inbox, Today, Next, Scheduled, Someday, Projects, and Logbook by default. Everything is added to Today by default, but you can add and move to-dos where they belong or add other areas of focus and projects. You don't have to adhere to the Getting Things Done, but this app is an easy way to get started with it, or completely ignore it if you wish. The beauty of this is that the app stays out of your way.

Project List in Portrait Mode

Project List in Portrait Mode

Sync to Mac

If your iPad and Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network, and you have Things 1.3.2 for Mac, then you can set up the two to sync your Things to-do lists and projects. Open Things on the iPad, open Things for Mac, open Preferences, Devices, and follow the steps there to add your iPad to Things for Mac preferences. You can also sync Things for Mac with iCal. You can sync Today, Next, or create a custom sync of to-dos and tags, and specify which Calendar in iCal these items sync. iCal to-dos also sync back to the iPad.

Things for Mac costs $49.99 and Things for iPad costs $19.99, so it's $70 investment to have your to-dos and projects at home or work and on the go. While this seems expensive, tracking your tasks may be well worth the investment.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor