Glasshouse Apps Pty Ltd
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Age Rating: 4+
Gift Plan is, as the name would suggest, an app to manage your present buying – a great idea at the beginning of December, but it’s not just for Christmas. In fact, where the app shines even brighter is for birthdays. You can even import your mates’ birthdays from Facebook (which became my default for remembering birthdays years ago) and your iPhone’s Contacts (if you’ve bothered to put that much information in).
Australian app developer Glasshouse Apps makes great iOS apps. The niches it aims at aren’t always ones that I fit within, but sometimes I wish I did. The apps are all too good-looking not to love. The Early Edition is one of my favourite ways to read RSS feeds, but Barista and Cellar, as beautiful as they both are, are just apps that I don’t have a use for. I buy my coffee rather than make it myself, and I don’t have a big wine collection (I don’t even have a small wine collection). Obviously, that’s not true of everyone, and the apps have proven quite successful.
Gift Plan is the latest of the bunch (it launched today) and is no exception on aesthetics. While I’m not sure I’ll use most of its features, I’ll bet there are plenty of people who will.
The app opens like a present – the ribbon is undone, and the paper torn off to reveal your upcoming occasions. There’s an option to passcode protect the app so that your significant other can’t find out what you have planned for an upcoming anniversary, or what your kids are getting from ‘Santa’ this year. Even the design of this simple passcode input is cute.
The occasions view is the standout feature of Gift Plan for me. I’m not organised enough to plan gift buying too much in advance, but I do like to quickly check out whose birthday is coming up soon, or just see how many days until Christmas and the associated trimmings are here. It’s easier than trawling through the Facebook list every time (if you’ve been selective with who you want to import), and it has a flawless interface.
(The Facebook importing is also incredibly simple: connect the app to your Facebook account, and all your friends’ birthdays appear. Select the ones you want, and they’re imported – images and all – into Gift Plan’s calendar.)
Even better than a simple list, you can set notifications so that the app will remind you (between three weeks and a day before) of an upcoming occasion. You can also set the time of notifications so they won’t be popping up at midnight (unless that’s when you want them to appear).
If you want to go beyond using Gift Plan as a slick reminder system for your loved ones’ birthdays, there’s a heap here to love. There’s a calendar view for when the x days remaining default in the Occasions view doesn’t suit, and a shopping list to note down the presents you need to buy: you choose a recipient and occasion, enter in a gift and price, and you’re done. It’s also a good way to budget for the upcoming occasion.
Gift Plan is also a database to help you remember things about the recipients. There are tabs for their likes/dislikes, clothing sizes, general present ideas and a list of what you’ve bought them previously. All this on a background of an assigned photo or one imported directly from Facebook, with a snazzy gradient effect and everything you need to know gliding in from the side. On the iPhone 4, it all looks incredible – only lessened by the resolution of images imported from Facebook, but that’s hardly the app’s fault.
The most striking thing about Gift Plan is the thought that’s gone into the design. This app has been in the works for some time, and it shows. Every aspect is polished to perfection. Being a 1.0 release, there are a couple of minor bugs – but I’m sure they’ll be fixed before you even notice them.
And for a new release sale price of $1.19, you can never go too wrong with an app.
Celebrate the beginning of summer by grabbing a copy of Gift Plan, and organising your Christmas shopping to minimise the trauma that is undoubtedly waiting for you over the next few weekends of shopping centre chaos.Gift Plan,