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Imagine a calendar app that also includes checklists, notes, alarms and more. Can an all-in-one planning solution live up to the promise?
Glass Planner is a fully-featured planning system, blurring the lines between calendar and to-do list to create an app that can hold ‘everything in your life’.
Let’s get this out of the way up top. Glass has a lot going on. It can be a little overwhelming at first – there’s so many features to understand. Even the features have features. Luckily the developer is aware of this and starts you off on a cut-down version of the app called Simple Glass. They recommend spending a few days getting to know the essentials in this mode before moving on to the full experience via a free* (more on that later) upgrade.
Glass is borne out of the frustration of calendars, to-do lists, notes and reminders existing as separate apps; is there any reason all those functions shouldn’t be rolled into one? It’s a strange but exciting thought to have one single app that could replace so much of the native iOS software in one fell swoop.
The main interface is split into three tabbed views: Plan, Act and Done. Plan includes a conventional calendar view alongside a list of all your planned activities in chronological order. The layout is clean and efficient, squashing up empty days so they don’t waste screen space. The Done view is essentially a reference archive for completed tasks and past appointments.
Where Glass gets interesting is the Act view: arguably the primary unique selling point of the app. This tab is where you turn when you want to “eliminate distractions and get things done”. It focuses solely on achievable goals – only tasks that you can actually do right now, alongside events occurring that same day. All else is hidden to let you see what’s really important.
Adding items is quick and easy, with a ton of extra depth available if required. Firstly, is the item a task (clean the kitchen), an appointment (meeting with boss) or a calendar note (dad’s birthday)? Next, the item can be topped up with additional information: each item can be linked to specific people, places or notes. It can be tagged with multiple keywords. It can belong to a project or link to a checklist. It can be set to repeat or flagged for review. Additionally, tasks can be set an importance level and appointments can have reminder alarms. That’s a lot of customization.
Glass intelligently syncs with Apple’s native Calendars app, including third party calendars that are already part of your setup. However, one feature notable by its absence is Facebook integration. Frustratingly, social events organized through Facebook won’t find their way into Glass – even if they’re set to sync with Apple’s Calendars. We contacted the CEO of Slide Rule Software who assured us that Facebook support will hopefully be coming in a future update, but as it stands it feels like a missed opportunity.
Helpful – if slightly annoying – popup tutorials are littered through the app, with an additional 20 minutes of videos on the Glass website to help you fully understand everything. There are hidden shortcuts to be learned for almost every action, that with time can make using Glass a quicker and more efficient experience. It will take time, though: like everything here, you can get back as much as you put in.
Glass is free but with some bizarrely pricy in-app purchases for power users: $5.99 (£4.49) just to put more than six items in a checklist? You can soften the blow somewhat by opting into the ‘Friends Program’ – post a status to Facebook about Glass Planner and you can get the Standard Edition upgrade free, and the other in-app purchases half-price. An interesting way to spread the word about the app, but it feels like a bit of a kick in the teeth. This was the Facebook integration that took priority over syncing events?
However, even the cut-back Simple Glass with no additional purchases is a pretty competitive planner in its own right. Casual users may not feel the need to upgrade at all.
Work on Glass Planner started in 2011, and it shows. It’s clearly a well-thought out and extremely detailed app. However, despite its best efforts, Glass is not a particularly accessible solution and for many the abundance of features will be more of a hindrance than a help.
That said, those willing to put in the effort to utilize Glass fully will be rewarded with one of the most intelligent, powerful planners around. Glass is great – it’s just not great for everyone. Sometimes being forced to make an up-front effort is all it takes to get organized – if you’ve been waiting for an excuse to better coordinate your life, now’s the chance.
Price: Free with optional IAPs
Size: 19.8 MB
Developer: Slide Rule Software
- Clear, beautiful layout
- Tons of great features
- 'Act' view is really smart
- Steep learning curve
- No Facebook support
- Expensive in-app purchases