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Pocket Informant 1.6 for iPhone adds Native iOS Calendar access

Version 1.6

In my review of Pocket Informant 1.51 a few weeks ago, I mentioned that Alex Kac of WebIS was very excited about the coming addition of Native iOS Calendar integration in version 1.6. Well, 1.6 hit the App Store this weekend, and I am delighted to say that its main new feature works just as advertised. I don’t really use the native calendar database anymore, but I do have Exchange at work, and could see myself switching my work calendar back at some point, so I decided to go ahead and take it for a spin.

As soon as I activated iOS Calendar Support under Calendar setting, all of the entries that  remain from my Exchange calendar immediately appeared alongside my Google data. If you are a Pocket Informant user, there is no real learning curve here.

Adding iOS appointments works very much like it does for Google or Desktop Sync. They are set up using the regular PI appointment entry screen. You just assign them to an iOS Calendar, which appear at the bottom of the Calendar Entry field in the new version.

Editing an appointment is very different, however, as once a PI appointment is assigned to one of your native calendars, it is locked to it, and it cannot be changed to a non-iOS calendar.

In fact, when a native iOS appointment is opened for editing, you are actually presented with the same screen you would see if you called that appointment up in the native Calendar app. This behavior actually makes sense in light of how Apple has set up access to the iOS calendar database. Alex Kac of WebIS touches on this in his recent blog post on the new Native iOS Calendar support. In it, he describes the specific operation and limitations of what Apple has delivered to developers in iOS 4. If you are interested in Pocket Informant, you should definitely give it a read, but here are the main points he touches on:

  • Events before 1933 are not supported. This includes birthdays.
  • Meeting attendees are not supported.
  • Calendars themselves cannot be edited or deleted.
  • Alarms for native events will bring up the iOS Calendar app, not Pocket Informant.
  • Pocket Informant specific fields, such as Icons and Tags are not supported.
  • Data from the native database, and PI’s synced database are kept separate.
  • Tasks are not included, as the iOS database does not address them.

Keep in mind that the limitations are with Apple’s implementation of calendar support, not with Pocket Informant. Any app that makes use of the native calendar database will have these same limitations.

Another key point to keep in mind is that iOS Calendar support is not a synchronization service, like Google or Outlook Desktop Sync. It is direct access to the iOS calendar database. This means that anything you enter in either the native Calendar app, or PI will show up in the other exactly the same. This point is very important, as it now opens up the possibility of using Pocket Informant, as well as other similar apps, for those iOS users who can’t or don’t feel comfortable using the available sync services. For me, the native Calendar app just doesn’t cut it, and I can’t imagine giving up the additional views and features of PI. Now, any iOS user can take advantage of  PI’s additional features, as well.

WebIS’ full release notes for Version 1.6 can be seen here.

Pocket Informant for the iPhone is $12.99, and can be found in the App Store here.

This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPhone App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

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