Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Cultured Code Launches Things 3

I’ve been using Things as my primary todo app for as long as I can remember, and it has always been a well-designed and thoughtful app from good people. But the last major version of Things was launched in 2012 and, any way you cut it, that’s a really long time ago for any piece of software. It’s a testament to how good the app is that I — and many others — have stuck with it for so long.

And, now, there’s a new version. I’ve been using Things 3 on all my devices for a while and it’s amazing. I can promise you that this is one of the best-designed apps to grace any Apple platform in a very long time — not just the way it looks, but what it does.

Ryan Christoffel, MacStories:

As with many other task managers, you’ll find a plus button in the bottom area of the screen to add new tasks. But in Things for iOS, that button has a special name: the Magic Plus Button.

In one of the most clever methods of task entry I’ve seen, the Magic Plus Button can be dynamically moved around the screen as a way to add additional data. While its default location will always be the lower right corner, the button can be dragged and dropped into different spaces of the app to do different things. Tap and drag the button into your list of projects to create a new project. Drop it into a list of tasks in Today to create a new task in that exact spot. Drop it into the Inbox icon that appears in the lower left corner to create the task in your Inbox. And, my personal favorite, when viewing your Upcoming list, drag and drop the button on to the day when that task needs to be acted on, and you’ve just assigned its start date.

The idea of a persistent button floating in the lower-right sounds very much like it’s pulled from Google’s Material Design guidelines, but it doesn’t feel that way. Cultured Code has clearly given a lot of thought to the way the Magic Plus Button should work, and its visual appearance is a reflection of that — not the other way around. My favourite little tip for this button: drag it to the left side of the screen within a project to create a section.

There’s lots more to love, like calendar integration and the redesigned Areas function, but at its core, it’s still Things. That means bulletproof sync, lots of little details, and a stubborn refusal to compromise their vision for what apps like this should be. I really like this set of updates.

I’ve written frequently here about supporting developers, the race-to-the-bottom of the App Store, and the lack of good apps on the Mac App Store. Cultured Code bucks the trend of reducing the price of their apps or introducing a subscription model, and these apps are better for it. Supporting good developers comes at a real monetary cost: $10 for the iPhone app, $20 on the iPad, and $50 on the Mac. But if a great task management app is what you’re looking for and you don’t want a company doing sketchy stuff with your data, Things might be worth the investment for you. I know that it is for me.