Tempo Smart Calendar for iPhone review

Tempo is a new calendar app for iPhone that not only attempts to handle your appointments and schedule more elegantly, but also doubles as somewhat of a personal assistant. It achieves this by tying into several different account types such as your emails, contacts, and more. The more you use Tempo, the smarter it gets, and the more relevant the information presented to you will be.

As many of you may have already noticed if you've attempted to install Tempo, there's a reservation system in place and you'll have to wait your turn in line. This is similar to the reservation system the recently Dropbox acquired company Mailbox implemented. While it may be frustrating, we can certainly understand why apps that may have high server usage may do this. Instead of causing a spotty experience for all users, they are choosing to let users in as they can handle the traffic.

After you get through the reservation system and you've gained access to Tempo for iPhone, you'll be guided through a quick tour of the main features. After that you will have the opportunity to link up your mail accounts and grant Tempo access to your contacts and current calendars. Tempo can take a little while to set up depending upon how many contacts and email inboxes you have. Once Tempo is ready to go, you'll receive an email and a push notification on your iPhone letting you know. For me, this process took about 20 minutes and I've got a pretty healthy number of contacts and synced 4 inboxes with it.

The first thing you'll notice is the layout and design. The main home screen will default to agenda view. You can either choose a static photo to sit at the top or you can leave Tempo's photo of the day feature which will rotate out a new image each day. You'll also see the weather for your current location. Below that is where you'll be spending most of your time, your actual calendar. You'll see a list of events for the day under agenda view. To toggle between views, simply tap the date at the top and choose between agenda, list, day, week, and month.

As far as the calendar views go - agenda, list, and month are probably the better views while the day and week options could still use a little work. For the most part they look very simliar to the default calendar but the week view will just show colored blocks. Tapping on them expands the event to see the title. You'll have to then tap on it again in order to view the detail. I'm not quite sure what the deal is with the colored blocks but a colored grid that shows no information isn't productive at all nor a good use of space. Tapping too many times to expand events can get annoying fast in week view.

The main feature of Tempo is how it smartly adds contacts to events based on your description. For example, if I tell Tempo I have a call with Jason, it will import any relevant information it may find in my emails and contacts that it finds relevant. If you use last names, your results will obviously be better. The point of combining this information is so that you can view all your information without jumping between apps and for that purpose, it really does work. You have the ability to view emails (including attachments), contact cards, social networks, and more for a contact or colleague at a single glance. From there you can text a contact that you're running late, view directions to a location, and more.

The good

  • Very fluid interface with easy gestures that just feel natural
  • Support for almost every contact type for importing
  • Gets smarter as you use it

The bad

  • Once an event is entered, you can not edit the calendar it is on, you'll have to delete the entry completely and redo it
  • If you don't use last names for people in calendar entries and meetings, Tempo may import wrong contacts into events
  • No iPad support
  • Imported alerts sometimes show up funny, sometimes as a negative amount of minutes

The bottom line

Overall, Tempo is off to a nice start and really does function as somewhat of a personal assistant. I've been adding entries and viewing my calendar in it for a few days now and it does seem to get smarter the more you use it.

For people who travel frequently and want one app to rule them all for sorting calendars, getting driving directions, and viewing information on a client or contact, Tempo can do it all. While certain calendar views could use some improving upon, I have a feeling the app will only get better over time. For the most part, it's off to a pretty great start.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Sweet! I've tried a few calendar apps in the last few months and none of them have looked as good as this. I'm downloading it now. Hopefully this will be another winner like Mailbox has been.
  • I have so much built up excitement for mailbox thanks to its reservation system..I feel like downloading this just to keep up the excitement.
    I've already decided I don't want to use mailbox...but omg I'm 2000 away!!!
    Ill likely try that other suggested calendar app soon. Fantastical?
  • That's how I was with mailbox too lol. I got in Monday and love it. I think I'm going to give this calendar app a try before shelling out the $4? for fantastical. Edit: Downloaded and I'm # 7,774.
  • I have been using Mailbox for a few weeks. It is a quality version 1 app. I need Exchange support for me to keep using it. I installed Tempo last week and am pretty happy with it. Since Fantastical does not have a free option I cannot speak of that app. Sunrise is also a good v1 calendar app. I would pay to use Tempo and/or Sunrise. -SAB
  • Do all contacts, emails, and events end up on their server?! If so: deal breaker.
  • Bingo. Any calendar or PIM app that requires an email address or social network login to amass my data is a no go for me.
  • I do not like tempo for a few reasons. - Snooze. Can't stand it. I like adding multiple alerts like about 3-4. 2 hour notice, 1 hour notice, 30 min, and sometimes 10. Tempo doesn't do this. You have to Snooze it. So when you slide them Tempo icon over to the right, you can't snooze it there. It automatically opens up the app which takes time. I don't like doing this as a pseudo alarm system. - List. It doesn't keep a list of all your appointments in the Lock Screen, so you have to also show another third party app or stock to get it to show. When you do this and an appointment is near, you get double warning and these Tempo warnings can be cleared while Fantastical can't be cleared. This is a major deal for me because I do not want to constantly open my app to determine what I have to do today. - Location. Sometimes due to battery constraints and the fact that I have to constantly open my app to see my appointments, having Location turned on and being used eats up a lot of battery. Unless my "list issue" is fixed, I really would like to keep location disabled without having to see the "we can be smarter if you turn location on" message near the top. Don't get me wrong. Tempo is an amazing calendar. An extremely polished calendar for a recent release, but these little problems are a deal breaker for me. I'm sure they will be fixed eventually, so I can wait. That being said, once they fix these issues, it will be a real contender with Fantastical. Competition always brings out the best in products. I for one can't wait.
  • Looks neat but I'm still using the stock apple one
  • This an extremely useful app. Much better than Fantastical! I would recommend this calendar to just about anyone!
  • I think a key advantage of this app is the ability to jump into a teleconference without having to remember the passcode. That is HUGE. The app is smart enough to know when a meeting schedule is a telecon or web conf and will include that information. When you "call" the telecon number, it actually adds the pause markers before the passcode, so the passcode gets entered in. It doesn't work for every web conferencing service. For instance, if you use the Shoretel conferencing solution, it won't punch in the passcode for you and just have you join the meeting, but in the dial string at the top when dialing a number, the passcode is visible right there, so you have no need to memorize anything. You just type in what you see. When you're dialing in from the road, that is a powerful function and can save precious minutes of a conf call when others are waiting for you to join. If this app add grey'd out events for invites that I haven't "accepted" yet (which happens to me most often in Exchange), it'd be a perfect app. If it added integration to Shoretel Mobility or Skype or whatever FMC I wanted to use to dial a number, it would be 10 times better. Either way, it's an innovative tool doing things that no other Calendar can do. Love it.
  • Awesome! You calendar recommendations are great!
  • This is a very good app except the following no iPad and Mac version, Once an event is entered, you can not edit the calendar, and it sometimes places the wrong information in the calendar.1
  • Bummer, US app only...
  • Haven't tried either Tempo or Mailbox yet... downloading and will sign up for reservation on both now. Going by the review, I don't think i'll actually be switching to Tempo anytime soon (other than trying it out for a bit), but MailBox looks exciting!! Update: Sigh!! Not available in PK store... Now I want it more! ;)
  • I've been trying to like tempo for its features. But it a bit of a let down, it's promising but not ready for my daily calendar app. I find myself going back to Fantastical, well worth the money.
  • Looks like a nice, more graphical interface. Not into having to provide email or social network id to use it, it should just work. Lastly I need to be able to edit an entry not have to rewrite it. I think I will stuck with the stock app. Thanks for the review, it was well done.
  • It seems like a beautiful app. And pretty useful too. It's a shame it's not available on all the app stores yet.
  • I tried it. I even liked it at first...but it has no consistency. The agenda view behaves differently than the day view which behaves differently than the week view...it regularly misinterprets the names of people getting the wrong info or irrelevant emails, it is just a bit of a mess. I have abandoned it since.
  • If they added support for the iPad and the Mac, add the ability to edit events, and made it available outside the US... I would be all over this!
  • Aww... Not available in Canada. :-(
  • I may wait til the editability of entries is avaliable.
  • I have been happy with Fantastical. It does not have an iPad version but does have a Mac and iPhone/iPod Touch version that I use.
  • really like the ui. apple should take notes
  • I'm a sucker for calendar and GTD apps. I'm loving Mailbox and Tempo looks promising. The native Calendar app on iOS leaves much to be desired.
  • This sounds like a pretty sous calendar app. I'm going to give it a try for sure. I like the concept of the app adapting to the user to provide a personal interface. Fingers crossed.
  • Hi, it's been a while now, that both mailbox and tempo have been on the market. I just got an iPhone so now I am looking into mailbox and also tempo. But somehow they are not compatible or am I missing something. I have an mailbox account with two emails connected...it works great, but as soon as I receive an invite i can't do anything anymore, since i can't sent the invite to the calendar app. And the same the other way around - I can't send any invites since i am only connected via mailbox and not through the stock mail app on ios. Am I missing something?
  • I love Tempo Smart Calendar but for the past 3 days it keeps coming up with the Red banner "Unable to connect to Tempo servers (503)." Nothing was changed on my iPhone nor did I change anything. Any help is appreciated
  • I have the same
  • https://www.relateiq.com/tempo/
  • Since Tempo's been discontinued here are the top apps you can use in its place - sunrise, meetingmogul and LinkedIn Connected.