Q: Do you know of any note or list applications available through the App Store that display the red circle notification on the Home Screen when a new event or “To Do” is created. I am looking for an application that displays these outside of the App itself, so there is no need to check within the App. It would be nice to quickly glance, and see
if you are forgetting anything. If there are some applications that are capable of this, are there any that are free?
A: Unfortunately, most applications do not currently make use of the “badge” on the main Home Screen. In many cases this is an intentional design decision on the part of the developer. The problem is that since the badge can only be updated when the application is actually running, it can be misleading, particularly in applications where the data is somewhat dynamic. For example, if tasks become “due” and you haven’t opened the application in some time, the badge count will not update to reflect these new tasks. Users who are unaware of this limitation to mistakenly assume that the number shown on the home screen is an accurate reflection of their pending items.
While we have not undertaken a comprehensive review, three to-do list applications that we have personally looked at that do make use of the Home Screen badge are OmniFocus by The Omni Group ($20, iTunes Store Link), Things by Cultured Code ($10, [url=http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284971781&mt=8]iTunes Store Link[url]), and ToDo by Appigo ($10, [url=http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=282778557&mt=8]iTunes Store Link). While all of these are pricier options, they generally include features to match. The first two sync with companion desktop applications of the same name for the Mac, while the third will sync with online services Remember the Milk or ToodleDo. (Note that there are several applications on the iTunes Store named “ToDo”—the one we are referring to here is the one by Appigo).
Unless you are looking to set up a comprehensive “GTD-style” task management system, OmniFocus and Things will be far more than you need. Appigo’s ToDo, however, is a fast and well-designed little app that works very well for simple to-do lists with the advantage of being able to sync with a web-based service on the back-end for maintaining your lists elsewhere.
However, the number of task and list-based applications on the iTunes Store is almost overwhelming, and we have not looked at all of them at this point. If any of our readers know of any other todo or list applications that use the badge icon to display item counts, we encourage you to let us know in the comments.