Clear strips away the chrome, in favour of an ultra-modern, gesture-based to-do list for iPhone
Clear For iPhone : Until Reminders hit in the fall of 2011, one of the most glaring holes in iOS was the lack of a dedicated task manager. Lots of developers stepped in to fill the gap, and now there are as many to-do list managers in the App Store as there are things you need to do. But it’s difficult to make a splash when you’re talking about shopping lists, work tasks, and lists of things to fix around the house.
Clear has bucked that trend, taking the to-do app from something bland and unremarkable, to a feat of code uniquely-designed for the iPhone.
Clear has no buttons, check-boxes, or other cues. Gone are the complex interfaces and constant tapping of apps like Things and Omnifocus. Everything in Clear is done using Multi-Touch gestures that will be familiar to anyone.
The app has three hierarchical layers: the menu level, list level, and individual lists. The first time you fire up Clear, the app walks you through basic navigation. To go down a level (from your lists to an individual list, for example), you just tap on your selection. To move back up, a vertical close-pinch does the trick.
When you’re looking at a to-do list, swiping right marks a task complete, while a left-swipe will delete it. Editing a task is as simple as tapping on its name, and making corrections with the keyboard. But be warned: each item in Clear is limited to 28 characters. Pull down on a list to insert a new item at the top, or tap under the last item to add one to the end of your list. To add a new item between existing list items, pinch out from them and a blank item pops up between the two. To move an item, just tap and drag it to a new position.
There are five colour themes, ranging from the reds and oranges of Heat Map, to shades of pink and magenta in Pretty Princess.
The effect of Clear’s buttonless design is simple and beautiful, and it feels like one of the few apps that was truly designed for the iPhone. Clear breaks the mould by fully embracing iOS’s Multi-Touch capabilities. But is that enough?
As enthusiastic as we are about the design, Clear should really be more than a very pretty proof-ofconcept app. It demos well, but as a functional to-do list, it has some serious limitations. The themes are well-designed – in theory, darker colours represent higher priority tasks but there’s no way to view all tasks by priority level. Without due dates, or any way to categorise items, Clear isn’t full-featured enough to serve anything beyond basic needs. It works for a grocery list, but it’s the iOS equivalent of a scrap of paper, albeit a very, very pretty one.