A few years back, I wrote up a couple of blog posts on my search for the “holy grail” of contact and calendar management. Back then, I had a BlackBerry, and I was hoping to find a good way to keep things in sync between the phone, my PC, and my Mac. I went through a few less than perfect options, which aren’t worth going into at this point.
Nowadays, I’ve got an iPhone, and I’ve found that iCloud does a fine job of keeping the iPhone, iPad, and Mac in sync. On the PC, I really don’t bother trying to keep a full set of contacts in Outlook anymore, nor do I keep my calendar there. I can always look anything up on icloud.com or on my iPhone. And, while I use Gmail for most of my mail, I don’t really feel a need to keep my Gmail contacts fully up-to-date either. There’s really only a small set of people who I e-mail regularly, and they’re all in my Google contacts, so there’s no problem there.
So, since everything’s working so well, of course I’m starting to mess around with it. I installed the vipOrbit app on my iPhone this week. It’s a program for managing contacts and calendars. Right now, the iPhone and iPad clients are free, the Mac desktop client is $30, and the sync service that I would need to subscribe to is $45/year. So I thought I’d start out by trying the iPhone app, and see if it was worth going any farther with it. The app imported my contacts from the main iPhone contact app with no problems. But, I found that it did not import all the fields. In particular, it didn’t import birthdays or the free-form notes field from contacts. The app has several user-defined fields available, so maybe there was a way to map those and import the birthdays and notes into them, but it wasn’t obvious how I could do that. I played around with the app a bit, and, while I think it might be useful for a salesperson tracking leads and/or customers, it’s not really useful enough for me to justify both the price and the inconvenience of keeping my contacts and calendar outside of the normal default iPhone apps.
Next, I may choose to try out fruux. Fruux is just a sync & backup service for contacts, calendars, and tasks. So, I’d keep using the default iOS apps, but would keep things in sync with fruux instead of iCloud. I honestly have no good reason to do this, except “just for the hell of it”. Or maybe so I can say I’m not 100% tied in to the Apple ecosystem.