Sunrise Calendar: Interesting idea, deal-breaker implementation

Sunrise Calendar: Interesting idea, deal-breaker implementation

Sunrise Calendar launched in the App Store this week to mixed buzz. It looks interesting but it only works with Google Calendar and requires -- requires -- you to login with Facebook before it will let you start using the app. That's an absolute show stopper for me. I don't need or want to login to a calendar app, and if I did, while Facebook would be a welcome option among many, I won't use any third-party app, not ever, where it's the only option. But that's not all...

I also use more than Google Calendar. My work stuff is on there, but my personal calendars are all on iCloud. Unless/until Apple's calendar is supported on Apple's platform, I lose a unified calendar, which is another deal-breaker for me. Same likely holds true for Exchange users.

I'm also confused as to why Sunrise Calendar is free. Yes, I do look gift-horses in the mouth, especially when there's a chance they'll bite me. Free sounds great, but nothing is ever really free. If I'm not paying, someone else is paying. And if I'm not being sold a product, odds are I'm either being sold as a product, or the product I'm being given for free won't long survive, at least not in the form it's being given me. I've had too many "free" services I've grown to like and depend on shut down, or get sold to Google or someone similar and effectively shut down. Not again.

Also, my calendars contains not just my personal information, but that of my friends, family, co-workers, and other associates. That's extremely valuable, and I'm extremely careful about how and with what I access it. "Free" is never enough to buy that access. Only "trust".

So this is where my Sunrise Calendar "review" ends for now. Get rid of the forced Facebook login, expand beyond Google Calendar, explain a business model I can trust with my data and trust will be around for a while, and I'll happily give it a full on trial, and who knows, maybe I'll like it and switch to it?

For now, I can't even use it.

If you don't mind Facebook logins, Google-only calendars, or free-as-in-??? apps, check out the video below, and if you like what you see, check out Sunrise Calendar and let me know how it works for you.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Sunrise Calendar: Interesting idea, deal-breaker implementation


I don't have a problem using Facebook or Twitter as a login mechanism, it saves keep creating new accounts all the time, but support for google calendar only is a deal breaker!
Exactly the same as the promising mailbox app, looks nice but spoilt by only supporting google services, what's the point in spending all that time developing a promising app to only support google services, especially on iOS!?!?!?!!?

+1. Waited for days watching my Mailbox reservation number tick down, only to be disappointed when I learned I had to use G-Mail. Haven't been back since. I have higher hopes for Mailbox 1.5+.

I too deleted this app. The only way to use it is use Facebook. I don't use Facebook. I deleted the app.

The question is why did the app activate Call Forwarding on my iPhone5 - when I didn't even use the app, only opened it to see Facebook login and deleted.? I haven't used Call Forwarding on one of my cell phones since 2001.

I wonder what this app accessed on my iPhone just by opening? Don't use this folks.

An aside - I wonder if the author sees the irony of this site won't allow one to post a comment unless they login with Facebook. Or Google, twitter.

You can open an account on here without linking Facebook, etc. accounts. I don't have anything linked to my profile here other than an email address.

  1. I didn't object to Facebook login at all, I objected to it being the only option.
  2. This site offers multiple options for login, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, or an account with our own system.
  3. You can use iMore without logging in at all, albeit without write rights.

I'd be fine with any app that offered the same choice.

Honestly I have yet to find a third-party calendar app that can replace iCal. I can get an idea of what my day is like with just a scan through the "day view". Most apps only provides an infinite list of events that I don't find helpful at all.

I highly recommend Pocket Informant to replace

I've been trying these new calendar apps (Tempo and Sunrise) just to get a feel for them, but it does irk me a little having my data uploaded to a server (at least in the case of Tempo).

Bingo. Excellent article. Installed it today and knew within minutes that no matter how great the design was/is, it wouldn't make the cut. Will be interesting to watch and see if it grows or fixes its issues. Until then, just too many deal breakers.

That is a great review! I'm impressed. I have no Facebook account, so now I know enough. Well written.

Seems like a great idea. I am using it simply to keep the user base up. For now I require Exchange if this is something that I will continue to use (Mailbox app may change that). I would pay for the app as well ($.99 to start and $3.99 or so for a premium version). As for how the company will monetize Sunrise - hope for a 7+ figure buyout, ads, or premium services. If anyone uses FB or Google and will not use it for a log-in, well, consider yourself a modern day Luddite (or wearer of tin foil hats). I expect more log-in and email options if Sunrise makes it to v1.5+.

Just got an update pushed to my iPhone that Sunrise can use Google as sign-in (as noted below). I also sent in an email last week about not having Exchange and received a real email reply from Pierre in less than 24 hours!! Keep up the great work with a great app!!

We've pushed an update to Apple to include login with Google. Sorry for this bad first experience, we are committed to fix that in our next (which I hope would be out later this week).
Pierre, co-founder @ Sunrise.

Really like this concept but without the ability to integrate with Exchange-based calendars is a non-starter for me. I use Google Calendar for personal items but Exchange is used for company activities.

As noted above, with the new update I DID NOT have to login to Facebook to use this app. I chose to login with Google. I do not like sites that require Facebook either, but this is not the case with this app (at least not anymore). The app looks great and is much better than the IOS 7 calendar. I do wish that it had support for Enterprise calendars, or was more integrated with the IOS calendar, but there is a workaround. I created a Google account and installed Google Sync, and am syncing my enterprise calendar with this Google account. I then added the calendar to Sunrise, and now have full access to all of my appointments. I should also mention that I use a different Google Calendar for all of my personal appointments as well. As a matter of fact, my whole family shares this calendar and we all use it on our phones. This way we can all see things like when my daughter is working, when my daughters' practices are, dance recitals, school football games, doctors appointments, and other things of interest to the entire family. Yes, integration with IOS or Enterprise calendars would be preferable, but that doesn't mean you have to trash or completely dismiss an otherwise beautiful app.

This article is more opinion than fact. No real critiques of the applications abilities. How do these people get jobs as tech journalists?

Simple 2.0 was just released and I think addresses a lot of the issues you mentioned. may want to have a look now