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Fantastical 2 for iPad: Bigger (and sometimes even better) than on the iPhone

Dan Frakes | April 3, 2014
Fantastical 2 gets the iPad treatment, but it's more than just a scaled-up version of the iPhone app.

Last fall, I reviewed Flexibits' Fantastical 2 for iPhone, a nice upgrade to my favorite calendar app for iOS. But as good as Fantastical 2 was, it was still missing one thing: an iPad version.

That didn't stop me from using Fantastical on my iPad. Despite a glut of iPad-friendly calendar apps in the App Store, I liked Fantastical's intuitive interface and stellar natural-language event-creation capabilities so much that I ran the iPhone version on my iPad in 2x mode.

I don't have to do that anymore: Flexibits has finally released Fantastical 2 for iPad. And though it's not quite the revelation the original version was for the iPhone, it gives you everything that's great about the iPhone version along with an interface that takes advantage of the iPad's larger screen. Fantastical 2 for iPad requires iOS 7 and costs $15, though Flexibits is currently offering it for an introductory price of $10.

Embiggened and enhanced
As obvious as "Fantastical on the iPad" sounds, Flexibits faced some significant design challenges when it came to upsizing the app. Foremost among them is the fact that Fantastical, on both the iPhone and on the Mac, uses a tall, narrow interface: the signature DayTicker (by default, a five-day summary view, which can be expanded to a month view) at the top, and below that a vertically scrolling, chronological list of the events in your calendars. (Yes, if you rotate your iPhone to landscape orientation, you get a full-screen, week-view calendar. But that's more of a bonus—most of the iPhone app's features and functions are focused on the vertically oriented interface.) In fact, the taller the screen, the better—Fantastical for iPhone is a superior experience on an iPhone 5 or 5s than on an older iPhone with a shorter screen.

fantastical 2 for ipad animated 580
Fantastical for iPad's DayTicker can show a simple preview or a detailed week view. (There's also a full-screen view, not shown here.)

The iPad's screen, by comparison, has a much wider aspect ratio, even in portrait orientation. But Flexibits couldn't just make the event list and DayTicker wider, as you'd end up with lots of blank, unused space. So the company came up with what it calls the Dashboard. Instead of the two panes of the iPhone version—the DayTicker on top and the event list on the bottom—the Dashboard offers three sections: a larger DayTicker on top, the scrolling event list on the left side below it, and a monthly calendar on the bottom right.

But the iPad's DayTicker is also much more useful than the iPhone's. Whereas you can swipe down on the iPhone's DayTicker to get a simplified monthly calendar, with colored blocks representing events, on the iPad the first swipe gives you a detailed week view, complete with event times and specifics. And if you swipe down on the DayTicker a second time, you get a full-screen calendar.

 

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