Sunrise Calendar 2.0 for iPhone review: Now with support for iCloud calendars!
Sunrise Calendar for iPhone has always been an extremely unique alternative calendar app as it manages to combine all your calendar events with weather forecasts for the day. Previously, you could only use a Google account with Sunrise but as of version 2.0, there's support for iCloud built right in. If you aren't happy with the native Calendar app in iOS 7, which many of you don't seem to be, Sunrise Calendar is a very viable alternative.
You can sign into Sunrise calendar using one of three options, Facebook, your Google account, or by registering with a standalone email. One of our initial complaints with an earlier version of Sunrise calendar was the need to log in with a Facebook account. This has since been remedied. As long as I have at least one login option that doesn't require me to tie my calendars to a social network, I'm okay with creating a login. In the case of Sunrise, I'll happily create a login given all the benefits it offers, namely proper shared events, which we'll get to in a minute.
Once you're signed into Sunrise calendar, all your events are brought down from the services you've chosen to tie to it. When you initially sign up, you can tie not only different calendar accounts such as Google and iCloud to it, but your social networks. That way your Facebook events and birthday, Foursquare checkins, and more can all end up in the same timeline. You can even manage event invites from your social networks within Sunrise. If you want one place to manage both your regular Calendar and your social calendar, Sunrise handles the job beautifully.
The main view in Sunrise Calendar shows a two week view with a list view underneath it. Pull down on the two week view to replace it with a month view. While scrolling through the list view, tap on the carat icon in the lower left hand corner in order to return to today's date instantly.
One of my favorite features of Sunrise Calendar is that it manages to look at the context of your events and put icons next to them that categorize them. It isn't a huge deal but it's one of those things that just makes the experience of using Sunrise that much more unique. It also lets you see what kind of events you have on any given day without really reading anything. Contact photos also feed in for anyone that you've attached to an event.
That brings me to what is quite possibly the best feature of Sunrise calendar in my opinion. Event invites! A lot of alternative calendar apps either don't support event invites, particularly for iCloud, or they only provide ways to share events via email. If you use iCloud calendars, you're already aware of how you can share events with other iCloud users and they'll receive a Calendar notification that they can easily accept. Due to the way Apple handles APIs and restricts them, this limits what developers can do with invites unless they're running through their own servers. Sunrise Calendar has implemented iCloud calendars properly and on their own servers which means they can link up with Apple's servers directly and avoid API limitations. Basically, it means you have native shared events the way they were meant to be.
- Shared events the way they should be done!
- Personable interface that ties in with social, but only if you want it to
- One of the best looking calendar views I've ever seen
- Weather forecasts and calendar info all in one place
- A log in account is required, but due to the tremendous benefits this small inconvenience brings with it, namely the ability for proper shared events, I'll happily live with it
- No natural language support
- No iPad version, I'd really like to see one eventually
- No Exchange support
The bottom line
Sunrise Calendar is quite possibly one of the best looking alternative calendar apps currently available for iPhone that supports both Google and iCloud calendars. Not only that, it's one of the only options that handles iCloud event sharing the proper way. If you use iCloud calendars and you share a lot of events, look no further than Sunrise.
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