Apple and Google have changed the course of how we buy and use applications. For Google, the apps are mostly free, data is stored in the cloud, but easily syncs between a variety of devices; mobile, desktop, laptop.
Apple’s own apps are free, and most of them can store data in iCloud and sync between devices, too. That means how I shop for applications has changed. First, I want them to run on all my Apple devices. Second, they need to sync up and play nice-nice with each device. Third, they shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg because the competition is free. Here’s an example.
Here’s one that I like and use regularly on everything– Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Watch. It’s called Countdowns. It’s something of a widget-like app (but not a Dashboard Widget; those are so 1999) that does one thing very well. Countdowns counts down and displays the number of days left toward a specific time and date.
The user interface is straightforward to the point of being self-explanatory on the Mac. Click the + button, set a name for the countdown. Set the date. That’s it. Countdowns counts down to the specified date and displays the number of days and hours left until the event.
Most Mac users won’t want another app open so Countdowns doubles as a Notification Center Widget so viewing your countdowns is a click away.
Wait. There’s more.
The whole idea of such a countdown app is to give you quick access to the number of days left before an event. Calendar doesn’t do that. Countdowns does, and there’s an iPhone and iPad version to make it happen.
The familiar Notification Center Widget displays your countdowns right on the iPhone or iPad screen. Set it to countdown in days, and add time if you prefer. Countdown syncs with iCloud so your countdown items will display on all devices.
Wait. There’s more.
Countdowns for iPhone also features Countdowns for Apple Watch, which means your countdowns to events are little more than a tap or swipe. This is the kind of convenience Watch provides.
While Countdowns is free to try, there are limitations. Countdowns are not unlimited, but an in-app purchase unlocks it so you can use as many countdowns as you require. The only real issue I’ve had is an occasional inability to sync one device to iCloud, but that’s not exactly new as many Mac apps have that problem. iCloud is to blame. What’s missing is a simple alarm to notify you a day or so ahead of the event date (a feature in Calendar which works quite well).