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Due for iPad brings reminders to the big screen

Due, the simple and almost supernaturally useful reminder app for the iPhone (our review) has finally gone universal. Due on the iPad (US$4.99) offers the same great look and functionality as its iPhone-exclusive predecessor, and it introduces over-the-air sync of reminders thanks to the magic of Dropbox.

I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I can say that it's just as great on the iPad as it's been on the iPhone. Here's my review of Due version 1.4 on the iPad.

UI

Due looks a bit odd on the iPad while in landscape mode. But first, here's a run-down of what you'll find. There's a toolbar on the far left with four icons: reminders, timers, logbook and settings (their functioning discussed below). To the right, you'll find your reminders, timers and logbook, respectively. Each reminder looks just as it does on the iPhone. A simple gray hue with legible descriptions and start times. For example, "2:15 PM, pick up mail."

Tap any one to open a drawer, called the Quick Panel, with several options: snooze, repeat, alarm, postpone (by minutes, hours or days). Finally, an indicator on the far right is a check box for marking that task as done. If said task is repeating, a number corresponding to the rate appears in the checkbox (1=daily, 7=weekly, etc.). Mark a repeating task as complete, and its replacement appears.

Timers also resemble their iPhone counterparts. You'll find the duration, event ("power nap") and "light switch" to turn the timer on or off.

The logbook lists completed tasks. A tap of the "recycle" icon adds that task back to your active reminders.

Finally, the settings gear pops up a host of options to choose from. More on that later.

I mentioned the landscape orientation being a bit odd. Your list of reminders is centered on the linen and doesn't take up all of the available screen real estate. It's not problematic, but it feels sparse. Perhaps I'm used to iPad UIs commandeering my screen. Or perhaps open space makes me nervous. In either case, there's a very good chance that you won't notice or care. But, there it is.

Now, on to using Due with the iPad.

Use

Ah, Due. How I love you. My monkey mind, as fantastical as it is, excels at one thing above all others.

Forgetting.

"Sure, I'll pick up the mail." Oops. "Early dismissal from school? I'll be at the bus station." Yikes. "Take these medications daily? OK..."

Empathetic to my plight, Due offers to remember for me. Let's start from the beginning and enter a reminder.

First, tap the reminder icon on the left (it looks like a clock) and then tap the "+" icon at right. A new window appears. Enter a title and due date. You can determine both the date and time. Tip: frequently-used due times can be arranged at the bottom of this pop-up screen for fast assignment. Click Add, and the new reminder joins the others.

The Quick Panel then opens and offers the option to snooze the reminder. For those running Due on both an iPhone and an iPad, this is a very important setting.

Snooze will nudge you to complete open reminders with a message and a tone at regular intervals (either every minute or every hour). As of version 1.3, Due syncs its database with Dropbox. You can see where this is going: two devices pinging for your attention over and over ... and over.

Also, if you mark the task as done on one device, say the iPhone, the iPad will keep dinging until you launch Due, as it won't poll Dropbox for updated information until then. Ding. Ding. Ding.

So, on your secondary device (the one you'll use least often), turn auto snooze off by tapping the "Zzz" in the Quick Panel and selecting "Auto snooze off."

Other options let you repeat an event, turn the alarm on or off (ding) or procrastinate by moving a reminder ahead by minutes, hours or days. It's perfect for when a meeting runs long and you won't get to the mailbox at the designated time.

Timers are like egg timers, but for your life. Simply set one up (power nap), determine the appropriate amount of time (15 minutes) and flip the switch. When time's up, Due will rouse you with a tone.

Finally, the logbook lists completed tasks. To add one back to the timeline, simply tap the recycle icon. Super easy.

As for settings, there are many. Sound effects and badges can be turned on or off, and alert sounds can be customized. You'll also find the option to list a time for your waking hours, lunch time, post-work and bed time. Snooze, backup and sync settings are also available.

Conclusion

In the end, Due version 1.4 with iPad support is just as useful on the iPad as it is on the iPhone. It's definitely my external short term memory, and the Dropbox sync is a bonus. Also in this update are goodies like double-tap to edit an entry, a larger text box for more room to type, undo for deleting and recycling, additional language support and more. It's so worth the five bucks.

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