Last week the blogosphere was set ablaze by the debut of the Clear to-do list app for the iPhone. There was little to no talk of the app pre-launch; the press that it has quickly garnered speaks to its shake-up of not only the task-list app category, but the appspace at large.
Gone are the standard UI elements we have come to expect from iPhone apps. There is no set of icons along the bottom of the screen for task views, lists, or settings. Calls to add, sort, and filter tasks are noticeably absent. This is one of the few apps to rely solely on gestures and to do it well. You know, the gestures we have been told touch devices are all about but could stand to use more — pull, push, spread, and pinch.
Understandably, the Clear app starts off with a short tutorial to lay down the ground rules of the app but from there everything feels natural and is fun and engaging. Each interaction triggers audio and vibratory feedback — I suggest disabling the vibrations. Tasks are created and shuffled with the subtle sound of a pop and completed with a celebratory chime. I catch myself thinking of things to do, excited to add tasks, shuffle my priorities, and knock ‘em out.
The one major knock on Clear has been its perceived lack of functionality and structure. Tasks can be organized into lists and prioritized among their peers but that is where it stops. There are no due dates, no reminders, no tags, and that may bother some people. Those rating Clear poorly in Apple’s App Store are missing the point. Clear differentiates itself from similar apps with not only its user interface but its simplicity. Heck, somebody (@youyuxi) has already replicated the app using HTML5.
Clear’s simplicity is perfect for many situations whether it is a quick grocery list, logging to-dos before you forget, or just taking a no-BS approach to getting things done. I have found Clear most useful in jotting things down that pop into my head while lying in bed or walking around the New York Digital District. Clear will not replace my go-to app for task lists with reminders, Remember the Milk, but it does fit the niche of quickly logging and prioritizing things — goodbye to Apple’s Notes app.
Have you already downloaded and tried out Clear? What are your thoughts so far? Leave them in the comments or discuss with us on Google+.