Fantastical 2 for iPad — The Trifecta Is Complete

When popular apps make their way from the iPhone to the iPad, there’s always the question of how they will take advantage of the iPad’s much larger canvas. Some do a good job of using the standard split view while others stretch everything out. Fantastical 2 for iPad (henceforth Fantastical) takes everything I love about the iPhone app and brings it to the iPad in a new and improved interface. Ever since I used Fantastical on the Mac and then iPhone, I had been waiting for a full iPad app. I was sick of using the iPhone app blown up on the larger screen and Calendars 5 by Readdle filled that void for the most part.

Close to a month ago, I got the Fantastical beta for iPad and it hasn’t left my homescreen since. Flexibits have knocked this one out of the park. On the iPhone, Fantastical utilizes either the DayTicker (That I love) or a month view. On the iPad, the interface is split up into four main sections, forming what they are calling the Fantastical Dashboard. The top bar gives you access to adding events, viewing reminders only, settings and searching. As with the iPhone app, tapping the month name will take you back to the current date. Below the top bar is the DayTicker that is larger on the iPad and it accommodates more days. The bottom section is split up into a list like the iPhone app and a month view. This may seem a bit overwhelming with the amount of information displayed but after a couple of days, it felt right. When you scroll the DayTicker, the list moves and tapping on another day will be reflected in the three sections.

The dashboard can be adjusted by pulling the DayTicker down to reveal a week view that is larger than the DayTicker. Your day is split up into blocks of hours. If you want a full screen week view, pulling the bottom of the week view down will let it go full screen. You can also tap the arrow that looks exactly like the one Apple uses in Control Center instead of pulling. The week view also supports drag and drop for events which is very convenient. Tapping the month in the title will take you back to the current day and time in the week view.

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Fantastical does not utilize the popover views that one would expect here while adding events or searching and instead uses full height sliding panes that slide in from the left or right depending on the action. You can also swipe from the right edge to bring up the search or swipe from the left edge to view Reminders. Tapping any event will have its detail view slide in from the right. The app behaves a bit differently here. Sliding panes dim the rest of the view so you know what is in focus. When it comes to event detail views, the dim area can be tapped to directly go to another event instead of dismissing the view and then tapping another event. I’m not a fan of this at all. While I do see its convenience, tapping outside to dismiss is what I’m used to in every app and even in this one apart from this situation.

Adding events and reminders is simple and one of the strengths Fantastical has had across Apple platforms. Its natural language input made me a fan back when I used it for the first time and with Reminders integration, it is unbeatable. On the iPhone it was great seeing the animation of an event move around and change as you type out a sentence. On the iPad, the larger screen has allowed for a more visible animation. You can switch from an event entry to Reminder entry by either tapping the toggle on the left hand side above the extended keyboard or by starting your sentence with “todo”. Fantastical for iPad has an additional row of numbers and symbols above the keyboard that save you some more time. I don’t think it is possible to enter events or reminders quicker than this anywhere. It even supports dictation if your device supports it.

Fantastical 2 for iPad completes the ecosystem. Once you’re in, you can’t leave. The amount of care that has gone into every little pixel in the app is insane. Flexibits really outdid themselves. I didn’t think they could top their iPhone app but this is a whole other level of awesome. It even has powerful URL scheme support as Viticci points out. It is the most complete calendar app out there. I even switched to using Reminders as my syncing service for my Todo setup to see how good an experience it was and was not disappointed. I may switch to Reminders full time now that it has a beautiful and powerul face to it across my devices. You don’t need to bother with any other calendar app. This is it. Flexibits even made a really nice fipad for the app. Fantastical for iPad is available on the App Store for $9.99 for a limited time before the price goes up to $14.99.

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