Finding a better iOS calendar: Peek

Peek calendar app iconPeek Calendar by Square Mountains might be the most original calendar app I’ve found for iOS. It wasn’t originally on my radar when I started my quest, but it was a welcome surprise. Peek’s design and interactions make it pleasing to the eye and easy to use (after you get over the slight learning curve). There aren’t many buttons, but swipes, taps and long-presses let you navigate through your events with ease.

It makes more sense when you see it in action, so here’s their promo video.

Supported calendars

Peek works with your local calendars. If you’re using a calendar in the built-in app, Peek should be able to handle it. There’s not a lot of settings to the app, and I didn’t come across any way to add calendars or other services within the app.

It’s worth noting when I first installed Peek it did not recognize my calendars. I had to delete and re-install the app. After doing so, everything was in place. I imagine this is a bug, and may have already been fixed.

Views

Right away you’ll notice Peek is quite different from a standard calendar app. The standard view uses bold colors to display a list of days. The left side of each day displays the day of the week and date, while the middle will say “today” and “tomorrow” followed by the day of the week for the rest of the days. Tapping on a day will expand out (with a nice folding effect) a list of your events. Tapping an event expands it giving more details and allowing you to edit it. It’s a very clean, very simple and fairly intuitive way to see your calendar’s information.

There’s a second view, a month view, which can be accessed by pulling down from the top (above today). It’s again very simple in design, but gives you a somewhat familiar-looking month view. A nice touch here is a sort of bar graph on each day. The more events on a particular day, the taller the bar. Tapping a day will unfold the related events.

As I mentioned, the interface is extremely clean and minimalistic. If you’ve ever used Clear, think of this as the calendar counterpart. The simplicity is refreshing aesthetically, but it also doesn’t offer you a lot of flexibility for viewing your calendar like some other apps. I’d like to see a way to view a list of upcoming events without having to tap each day.

Adding events

Screenshots of Peek CalendarTo add an event, you hold down on the day your event is to take place. It then unfolds options (title, time, location, alerts, ability to make it recurring). Like everything else in the app it’s simple and pretty.

I like the time selector. You hold on the time and a slick slide menu fades in, letting you scroll to the right hour and minute of your event.

I do wish the location field would auto-populate with some database (maybe Foursquare or Google?). Perhaps then you could easily link that place and make it open your favorite navigation app for directions. This isn’t huge, but something I’m seeing in a lot of other apps that I’ve started to really find useful.

Conclusion

I like the look and feel of Peek. I applaud the restraint in their interface design, but I think Peek might be too simple for me. The quick swipes, presses and taps make for a quick and fun way to interact with your calendar, but the lack of view options make it fall short of what I’m really looking for. Peek Calendar by Square Mountains is available in the App Store for $1.99. If you’re looking for something very simple, with a great design, Peek is for you. What do you think? Have you given Peek a try? Let me know in the comments.

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