Clear has been one of the most interesting, innovative and beautiful to-do list apps out there. It used smart swipes and gestures instead of buttons and settings, and it had a colorful flair you don’t find in a typical productivity tool. Clear was popular, it was cool, it worked well, and it seemed to have a bright future.
Clear 2 for iPhone and iPad: The whimsical to-do list app is back
That was ten years ago. At the time, says co-author Phil Reo, the team stopped working on Clear because it felt…it was finished, or at least close enough. “It’s a very simple, intuitive, and charming app, and it’s not an app you want to keep adding to over the years,” Ryu says now. Now, in hindsight, he admits there was another factor as well. “I think we were all a little burned out.” After years of creating and refining this unusual application, porting it to new platforms and creating a stable synchronization system, Ryu and his colleagues didn’t want to deal anymore. Clear has been surprisingly available and practical since then but seems to have been mostly abandoned.
Now, Claire is back. Ryu and his teammates at Impending (also the company behind the hugely popular game). attention! game) Clear 2 launches today for iPhone and iPad after purchasing the rights to the app from its original partners at Realmac Software and spending the last two years tweaking and refining the app again. The new Clear doesn’t sync across devices yet — though Ryu says that will come — and it almost certainly won’t have a Mac app at all. Ryu says he can’t figure out how to make a Mac app that looks good the way Clear feels good. But in other ways, this is a more ambitious approach to the things that made Clear special in the first place.
The basic clear structure is the same as before
The basic clear structure is the same as before. The app is a list of lists — you can tap a list to open it, pinch to close it, swipe to complete or schedule an item, and tap and hold to drag things out. I’ve been using it in beta for months now, and it’s just as fun as it was before. The animation is nice and fast, and Clear 2 has the same whimsical gradient colors that made the original so beautiful to look at. If you’ve been happily using Clear for a decade, as Ryu says tens of thousands of people have, the new version will take some getting used to, but it’s a good update.
You can certainly use Clear to create to-do lists — you can set a reminder on any item, which is useful — but it’s not really a task management app like Todoist or Things. These apps contain tags, iterations, projects, and big ideas about getting things done. Clear is intended simply to be a private place for your thoughts, Ryu says. “I feel that ideas deserve a beautiful vessel,” he says, “and we do our best to make Claire a beautiful vessel, not just visually or aesthetically but to make us feel good filling it.” The app itself suggests you use it to create a gratitude list, rank your favorite Pixar movies, keep a dream journal, and more.
When Rio and I first talked about Clear 2, he was planning to turn Clear into a subscription app. That’s the business now, really: Give people a free tool to get started, then try to hook them into additional features and get them to pay every month. But since then, Ryo has changed his mind. Clear 2 is a free app. The monetization plan is all about customization: Ryu and Impending plan a steady release of new themes, new fonts, new icons, new in-app sounds, new everything, in the hope that users will pay for the things they like and support the app. That way.
This customization is really the biggest new thing about Clear 2. It’s an app with hundreds of different styles and use cases, which Ryu hopes people will adapt to their own preferences. He believes there is not enough of that in the world these days. “There’s a lack of human touch from Apple sometimes,” he says. “And you know, all the Disney blockbusters, and every show feels like a prestige HBO show…” There’s a similarity in everything, he says. “I think there’s a feeling that we’re ready for more new and interesting spaces again.”
However, Ryo doesn’t seem at all sure that this will work. certainly, fortnite It makes a lot of money selling skins, but can Clear sell enough custom tokens to sustain itself? He hopes so, and likes what it means for the app. “We can give fans some fun, new things throughout the year, and it won’t complicate the app’s image,” he says. A content-first strategy requires Impending to keep making new things, but that’s not what worries him; He’s worried about making new things that will make Clear worse just to keep making new things.
Clear 2 will not be available to everyone. A decade after the first app that stunned everyone with its design chops, seeing fun icons and smooth animations is nothing new anymore. (Although it’s still rarer than it should be, especially in productivity apps.) A few existing Clear users may be turned off due to changes or lack of sync across devices. But Rio is confident that people need a special, personal and cheerful place on their phones, and Clear could be that place.