Brad Feld

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iPhone and Tasks

Oct 26, 2008

My iPhone 3G continues to delight me.  For all of you naysayers out there (e.g. "eh – Feld’s Mac Fetish rears its head again – he’ll be done with it in a week and give it back to Ross), you are wrong this time!

As a heavy Outlook user, the requirement for me to be happy was a seamless experience with Exchange.  In the Apple iPhone 2.0 software, Apple did an excellent job of integrated EAS (Microsoft Exchange Active Sync) that has completely won me over.

But Apple left one thing out – Task management.  There is no app on the iPhone for managing tasks (sorry – notes doesn’t cut it) and as a result there is no way built in way to sync one’s Outlook tasks to the iPhone.  I whined about this in my post My Relationship With Apple Is Like My Relationship With The Republican Party.

As a result of the post, I got some good suggestions for iPhone Task managers and different approaches.  One of them seemed strange to me, but turned out to be the best one by far.  The suggestion was to stop using Microsoft Outlook for Tasks, switch to a web app called Remember The Milk, and use the Todo iPhone app from Appigo.  Ironically, this suggestion was from someone who used to work at Microsoft!

I was skeptical at first but tried all of the suggestions (and paid about $75 for the privilege since I just bought all the paid apps assuming there might be something good in there.)  There was no comparison – RTM + Todo + iPhone was exactly what I wanted.  In addition to a great iPhone UI, it turns out that I can email myself todo items (I get a private email address) which is what I often want to do anyway (since the todo item is in an email that someone else has sent me.)

I’ve been using RTM (the pro / paid version) for over a month and I love it.  I can imagine a scenario where there would be an acceptable iPhone task app that synced properly with Exchange, but it would have to be full featured (categories, date ordering, notes).  And – since I’ve changed my workflow to no longer have tasks in Outlook, I don’t see any reason to go back.