I am surprised at how much I like BlueTags’ Planner Pro. The first time I opened it, I expected to despise it. It looked too messy. It didn’t look clean enough. I love Calendar’s simplicity, and this did not look like it would suit what I needed at all.
But the more I used it, the more I saw it becoming an affordable and easy way for people who need an all-in-one app to manage their day-to-day lives. It combines the event planning of Calendar with the task management of sophisticated apps such as Things for iPad. It doesn’t replace apps like iStudiez Pro for students, but for people who run their own businesses, Planner Pro will be a godsend.
Let’s Talk About Design
Planner Pro is what many people call skeuomorphic. For those of you who are not in the know, skeuomorphism occurs when one product imitates another older, but similar product by design. This emulation is usually considered unnecessary, because it doesn’t abandon traditional appearances in the name of process. Many of Apple’s recent user interfaces have been both lambasted and praised for their use of skeuomorphism. It’s not a good or a bad thing, but it’s subject to personal taste.
Planner Pro is extremely skeuomorphic. It heavily borrows from design elements of planners we used years ago, long before we started storing our to-do lists in our phones and tablets and other electronic devices. In fact, I’m certain that my family has owned planners that look just like this. I never liked them before, but I always understood their purpose.
Planner Pro, when held in landscape view, looks just like one of those open planners. It appears to be a book with several tabs to indicate what month or day you are looking at in the planner. It has a section for notes and tasks. My first thought was that Planner Pro was a really ugly Calendar skin, but exploring through the app taught me differently.
A Task Manager and a Calendar
Importing calendars from the standard Calendar app into Planner Pro is a breeze (although it apparently does not offer Exchange support — I don’t use Exchange so I couldn’t test that to be sure). That being said, this app goes so far beyond that. There is a daily tasks list that is simply phenomenal. Planner Pro can only remind you of your daily task list once a day, not unlike Things, so you can’t set reminders to go off throughout the day like you can with Apple’s stock Reminders app. It’s the only downside I could find to Planner Pro’s otherwise in-depth task management system.
Making lists is really straightforward. You just hit the plus symbol in the Tasks area of the app and choose what kind of list you want to create. It’s easy to sort either individual items or project lists, which means that you can store a grocery list in the app but keep it separate from your other to-do’s for the day, for example. The app also allows you to sort your tasks by priority, which is great when you have multiple projects happening at once.
The app icon generates a numeric badge for any due or overdue tasks, so you always know if you have something that needs to get done. And if you want to see a list of all your current and upcoming tasks, there is a separate tab in the app that allows you take a look at just your to-do list. In short, you have what feels like a ceaseless amount of ways to organize your life.
And Make a Note of This
Planner Pro also supports note-taking — a feature I’ve never personally used in my agendas, but could see certain people finding useful. It’s easy to generate a note as well, and very similar to generating a to-do list of Tasks. The app lets you write multiple notes a day and organizes them in an easy to see manner. There is no way to view your notes separate from the daily planner like you can with your tasks, but I don’t know many people who would want a feature like that. This is not a note taking app, but a note making app; it’s designed to let you take notes on your daily activities and what you did without getting as in depth as a diary.
Who Is This Meant For?
At this point, you may be reading this review and wondering straight-up whether or not this app is for you. Maybe you don’t like the skeuomorphic design, but you do like the daily inspirational quotes. Maybe you like the note-making function, but don’t need to have yet another app for your to-do lists.
I understand. In that case, this app isn’t likely for you, it’s for somebody like my parents. Both of them ran their own businesses (one of them still does) and were very attached to their planners. They like design that references the past while being placed firmly in the future of technology. It makes sense to them because it’s still traditional enough that they can make full use of it, and that’s great.
This is the be-all end-all of daily planners. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing that the Calendar app was more fully-featured, or if you like apps that evoke familiar designs, Planner Pro is for you.