Sunrise is a beautiful and free new app that brings your Google and Facebook Calendars together as one. The end result being a striking calendar mash-up that brings a fresh approach to calendar apps.
Sunrise is heavily integrated with Facebook, Google and also Linkedin. Before you can access the app, you’ll need to login using your Facebook credentials. Facebook calendars can be disabled once you’ve set up your account. As with any applications that provides this level of integration, they want to access to your profile, events and friends profiles. Sunrise will import all of your events. I personally have a small number of events in Google Calendar and the wait time was roughly 3-4 minutes. Your setup time might vary depending upon the number of events in your calendar. The final step in setting up Sunrise is to allow your location. A neat part of this app is the inclusion of weather for the next 48 hours. Minimal design inspired icons denote weather in the morning, afternoon and evening coupled with the temperature.
At the top of the application are settings and ‘+’ to add events. It’s hard not to ignore the similarities between the design aesthetic between Sunrise and our favorite calendar Fantastical. Adding events in Sunrise also features the coolness factor of Fantastical that allows for natural language event entry. “Meeting with Matt at Friday at 8 o’clock” will auto-create the entry for you.
Sunrise does allow for attaching contacts and will send an iCal invite upon adding. It will also pull in their photo and let you know when they have accepted your invitation. Though it supports notifications for events, it will not alert you upon an accepted invitation.
The Sunrise interface manages to show a good amount of information, without having to suffer from sensory overload, a difficult task for a calendar app. As you swipe up and down through your agenda view, the date view also changes. A subtle orange arrow will remind you of the current date and time. As you browse through your schedule a small orange circle appears that allows for a quick return to the today view.
Having used apps like MyCalendar to keep track of birthdays, it’s a bonus that Sunrise will automatically include Facebook Birthdays. If this is too intrusive, you can choose to hide Facebook Birthdays, Facebook Events and any of your calendars for that matter.
If you are looking for the best pure calendar experience, that distinction still belongs to Fantastical. It benefits from working in unison with the Calendar app, which offers iCloud support across all of your iOS devices and your Mac. That being said, Sunrise is a compelling and free app for those who make use of both Google calendars and Facebook birthdays or events. The exceptional interface and support for natural language calendar entries is something you’d expect from a paid product. If you are looking for an alternative to the current Calendar app, it’s worth putting Sunrise on your short list.
Sunrise Calendar is available for free from the App Store.