My love for Fantastical was born out of my disdain for what Apple did to iCal. I dont think Im alone in this, but I used to be an avid iCal user. It was great and the first calendar app that I really used consistently. Then it all went to crap in Lion (Mac OS X 10.7). My biggest gripe aside from the hideous leather UI was the removal of the calendar sidebar and usable monthly navigation overviews.
In light of that I sought out alternatives. BusyCal was a throwback to the iCal of old but was just different enough that I couldnt get behind it. And then along came Fantastical. Admittedly I was skeptical at first until I tried it.
The way you interact with Fantastical is nothing short of magical. Just type in your calendar event and it parses the language automatically. So for instance,
The Dark Knight Rises at midnight on July 20 at Alderwood Mall
Gets added as a calendar event called The Dark Knight Rises at 12:00 AM on July 20 with the location set to Alderwood Mall.
The more I play around with how it recognizes criteria of what I type the more surprised I get. From recognizing people on an event and inviting them to setting up repetitions automatically I am always amazed by what it can do.
The big thing that held me up from getting it was the price. I wasnt really a fan of spending $20 on a calendar app since I had been used to iCal which was free with OS X. I let the 14-day trial expire and went back to iCal for a while before deleting my preferences to reset the trial. But In the end I sprung the $20 for it and really havent regretted it.
Thats a shift Ive been seeing in myself more lately: I enjoy supporting small developers who make great apps. Most of the apps that Im planning on writing about in is series are all from small developers and its a huge part of what makes the iOS and Mac ecosystems so great.
I urge you to check out Fantastical. The price is normally $20, but right now its on sale for 50% off at the Mac App Store and I cant recommend it enough.
$9.99 on the Mac App Store for a limited time