Clear-ly a very successful product launch; not a button in sight

Posted on by Mike Evans

You have heard of Clear, haven’t you? I shall be surprised if you missed it because every tech writer worth his salt has reviewed this unique iPhone to-do app. It is without doubt a brilliant bit of PR activity on behalf of developers, Realmac Software. And the app isn’t so bad, either.

Clear for iPhone - Available Now! from Realmac Software on Vimeo.

Johnny come lately that I am, I just had to spend my 69 pence and have a clear-out of my in box. Jupiter knows, I own enough to-do and project management apps to qualify me for a Masters’ degree in organisation. One more won’t do any harm. Still and all, Clear really is something different.

It has no menus, no buttons, no help. All you do is prod and squeeze, swipe and pull and your task list comes to life. I cannot think of another app like it and it is worth downloading if only to experience what could be the shape of the future.

Clear is a very simple to-do list. Those of us who cleave to the complexities of OmniFocus will find Clear lacking in many respects. But this doesn’t mean that it is inferior to OF. It’s just different.

Speed of entry and lack of fiddly bits is the hallmark of Clear. You can work it one-thumbed with the iPhone in your hand and there are no decisions to make. There are no categories, no contexts, no start dates, no due dates, no complex priorities (except that you can pull more urgent tasks to the top of the list where they turn from yellow to a satisfying shade of red).

This simplicity is what makes Clear and is what tells me that I shall give it a go. I won’t review it in detail now because everyone else has had a go (see list below if you want several in-depth appraisals). But I will use it and report back.

Clear is so simple that it has no cloud, no synchronisation, no iPad or Mac app (although, of course, you can use it on the iPad). There’s not much point, though, because it doesn’t synchronise. What you see is what you get and it’s there on your iPhone or iPod touch only.

No doubt in time the developers will add synchronisation, but I hope they resist the temptation to add too many bells and whistles. To-do apps are ten a penny, but Clear is something different and worth preserving.

Although I am an OmniFocus fan I have lately taken to using Reminders. It is also simple and, I find, ideal for lists of groceries, errands, books to download, movies to visit. Obviously it isn’t as simple as Clear, but task entry is almost as fast. And, of great importance, it synchronises via iCloud. With the advent of Mountain Lion in the summer, Reminders will get a native Mac app. Then it will be a serious contender. I am not sure where this leaves Clear and many other stand-alone to-do lists.

Look what the technorati had to say:

Ben Brooks

Brett Kelly

Cody Fink

Shawn Blanc

Nik Fletcher

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