No matter what iOS version you are currently using, you have access to at least two different ways of creating to-do lists on your phone. You can use Notes to create a shopping list, or you can use Reminders for elaborate actions that also require geolocation data. However, there are countless other options in the iOS App Store that are far more useful. These applications are able of some very complex operations, and they can be true lifesavers in all kinds of everyday situations.
I believe that most of us receive messages and e-mails from our friends, spouses, and co-workers, mostly about things that need to be taken care of. For example, I often receive shopping lists via e-mail, so I always use my iPhone while browsing for the right items in a store. A few days ago, I received an iOS app that promises to take care of my shopping lists by extracting information from my e-mails and messages, which is something that positively surprised me. This application is named Alter, and it is designed and published by Sicknote Software. You can download it from the App Store for $1.
Even though it may sound complicated at first, Alter is quite simple and straightforward. Once you receive an e-mail or a message with a list of things that you need to take care of, you can copy the entire message and open Alter. Then, you will need to paste it into the app. The home screen of Alter will be blank every time you open it, if there is no previous to-do list already loaded up into the app. Once you paste your message, you will see how Alter is trying to understand sentences and extract those that can be used as a to-do list. The text you paste will be presented through separated paragraphs, with highlighted sentences. Once you tap on the list button, you will see the series of tasks that you can further organize.
Alter’s list view shows extracted information that you can merge, move, and delete. This is the final step in creating a new to-do list. However, this is where things become very limiting. This app is doing a great job of extracting data from your mail and messages, but it is able of handling only one to-do list at a time. What this means is that you can add many items, but they will be merged into one list. You can see how this can become unorganized, cluttered, and simply annoying.
I liked Alter’s concept of solving a problem that most of us face on a daily basis. However, it could be said that this app brings only partially useful solution. I would recommend this app to those who do not need more than one to-do list at a time, since advanced users can find much better alternatives in the App Store. I hope to see this app evolve in the future, since there are many simple ways for this app to become very powerful and even essential to many.
PROS: Interesting concept. Simple workflow.
CONS: Limited functionality. Overly simple.