Former iOS software chief Scott Forstall may have been defenestrated through a skeumorphically beautiful digital window, but that doesn't mean that real world-based GUI fluff isn't alive and hovering over his metaphorical body. Such electronic noise is apparent in the app Calendar Plus, whose primary appeal appears to be in its visuals rather than its functionality.
To begin with, Calendar Plus has exactly one functional element. It stays up in your menu bar — since iCal doesn't — and provides you with a fast glimpse of what's on your calendar. Beyond that, Calendar Plus defaults to iCal (renamed Calendar in Mountain Lion, but we'll call it iCal here).
Click the menu bar icon, and a large, brightly colored calendar opens with a list of events jutting out in a pane on the left, color-coded by which of your iCal or CalDAV calendars they appear in. Click a new day in the calendar to see that day's appointments, or double-click it to open it in iCal. Want to add a new event? Double-click the day, wait for iCal to open (at least it opens on the day you clicked), and enter the info there.
Calendar Plus automatically reads the same calendars and accounts you have set up in iCal, and you can also add Google Calendar and Facebook, even if you don't have those accounts linked to iCal. But they're read-only as well: If you click a Google Calendar event, it opens in www.google.com/calendar in your default browser.
The settings have some useful features — you can set a keyboard shortcut to open the app, and choose to have the weather displayed too. Calendar Plus seems to take great pride in letting you choose a theme and background picture for your calendar, but we found these distracting. Case in point: the "Calendar is attached by" settings lets you decide whether Calendar Plus's window just sits beneath the menu bar, or if it dangles a little bit lower, "attached" to the menu bar by bits of string or clothespins or chunks of glass. That's... nice?
The bottom line. Calendar Plus makes your iCal data a little more accessible than if you had to open iCal every time. But its inability to add or edit events is a shame, and the questionable appeal of the graphical extras doesn’t redeem that shortcoming. Fantastical ($19.99, www.flexbits.com) costs more but works much better.
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