Things Cloud “Nimbus” Released

The next version of Things Cloud is here—with a brand new architecture we’ve built to deliver push sync across your devices.

Three years have now passed since the launch of Things Cloud. Over these 36 months, the service has done exceptionally well. It has proven to be robust and reliable, and continues to receive fantastic feedback.

Now, as you know, we’ve been working away on Things 3. Part of this time has been invested in enhancements for Things Cloud in a project we call “Nimbus”, and this is what we’d like to talk about today.

Pushing Changes Across Devices

Shortly after Things Cloud launched, we released a feature called Local Push. It makes sync instantaneous as long as Things is open on your devices (and they’re on the same local network). But of course the app is often closed on your mobile device—so it won’t receive the push, and won’t be in sync until you manually launch the app later.

Today’s new version of Things Cloud solves this problem by sending your devices a push from the cloud (regardless of what network they’re connected to). This means that most of the time you’re in sync even before you launch the app. Here’s how it works:

  1. You make a change on your Mac; this change is immediately sent to Things Cloud.
  2. Things Cloud determines which of your other devices should receive the change, and asks Apple’s Push Notification Service to contact them via a push notification.
  3. Apple’s notification service contacts your devices and wakes Things.
  4. Things wakes in the background on these devices, requests the latest changes from Things Cloud, and integrates them. The next time you launch the app, it’s already in sync.

Note that Apple’s role in this process is only to deliver notifications, not transmit the data itself. Your data is only ever communicated between your devices and Things Cloud—just like before.

Of course, we need to be responsible about the frequency of these pushes. If we did too many, too often, there would be a lot of unnecessary traffic. So we’ve configured Nimbus for low-priority pushes that wake Things infrequently: typically, up to 10 minutes can pass until a push is received by a dormant device.

You’re already using it

Nimbus is a significant enhancement to Things Cloud—a 2.0 if you will—which enhances the “just works” experience you’ve come to expect. You don’t need to enable it, or configure any settings—you’re already using it. We hope you didn’t notice! It was meant to be completely silent.

Things for Apple Watch

We’re delighted to show you the latest addition to the Things family: Things for Apple Watch.

Available on the App Store

Designing Things for Apple Watch

With the Watch, Apple is entering a new device category: wrist-worn computers. Much like with the iPad before, in order for the Watch to be useful, it needs to do some things better than our existing devices. This burden is not on Apple alone—we as developers need to strive to find good answers for our apps as well. What exactly is the watch better at? Which interactions would be great, and which wouldn’t?

Making Of... Things for Apple Watch

In our view, the most defining feature of Apple Watch is its immediacy: it’s always with you, literally at your fingertips. There is no barrier between your wish to interact with it and your ability to do so—all you have to do is tap your wrist. The watch can even tap you on the wrist to get your attention. We believe it’s the immediacy of these interactions that makes it possible for Apple Watch to become your very own companion that guides and assists you throughout the day.

Apple’s own health app is a perfect example of this: if one of your goals in life is to live healthier, you now have a friendly companion to help you achieve that goal—subtly reminding you to move more, and showing you at a glance how far you’ve progressed.

We see Things for Apple Watch in exactly the same light. Things has always had a unique feature that lets you curate your very own Today list: everything you want to accomplish on a given day goes there—be it individual to-dos, to-dos from various different projects, or even entire projects themselves. After you’ve compiled your list for the day, all you need to do is follow through. As with your health goals, this is easier said than done. The Watch, we believe, is the perfect companion to help you stay on track.

With this in mind, we set out to design a version of Things that’s focused, not on task management, but on task accomplishment. Specifically, what you’ve decided you will do today. Let’s take a look at how it works.

A Tour of Things for Apple Watch

Today’s To-Dos at a Glance

Things for Apple Watch: Glance

As you go about your day, the quickest way to access your to-dos is by pulling up Things’ Glance—just raise your wrist and swipe up on the watch face to see it. Two things are prominently displayed here: the next few outstanding to-dos for today, as well as the progress you’ve made so far. There’s also a nice little graph that tracks your performance over the past few days.

Play

Tapping anywhere on the Glance opens the main app, and brings you directly into your full Today list where you can quickly mark your to-dos complete as you go.

Each accomplishment doesn’t go unrewarded: there’s a nice animation as you check off your items, and the ring at the top inches forward as you progress through the day.

Quick Decisions

If you tap on a to-do, you’ll see all relevant information: its title, the project it belongs to, its notes, as well as its due date. This gives you all the information you need to decide how to proceed with the to-do.

Play

Do it now? Great, then tap the checkmark at the top to complete it.

Play

Plans changed? No problem, just tap the arrow to postpone it for later.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this screen, you can also tap to dictate some notes, or change the due date.

Adding To-Dos

Play

With Siri, you can add new to-dos to Things right from your Apple Watch. Just press and hold the digital crown, or say “Hey Siri, remember to contact Sarah about our trip”. This sends the new to-do to Things’ Inbox where you can process it later.

Inside the app, you can also tap the + button in the top right to dictate your to-do. If you want to work on it right away, move it from the Inbox to your Today list with a quick tap.

Work with Projects

If you know you’ll mostly be working on a given project throughout the day, you can simply mark that project with a star on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone and it will show up on your Apple Watch, together with all its to-dos.

Fully Integrated

Things for Apple Watch is integrated with Things Cloud for seamless updates across all your devices. Every thing you dictate; every task you complete; every due date you set; every change you make—it’s all passed over and synchronised instantly with your Mac and iPad via the iPhone app.

Also, if you’ve scheduled to-dos for a certain date, Things for Apple Watch can remind you in the morning on that day. This gives you a chance to review them so you don’t miss anything important. Just turn it on in Things for iPhone, and choose a time for your alert.


With this combination of features, we hope you’ll find Things for Apple Watch to be a great companion that truly helps you achieve your goals every day.

Available Today

Things has already been released for Apple Watch. This means that if you already own Things for iPhone—and millions of you do!—you’ll be able to install it as soon as your watches start arriving later this week. Just pair the new device with your iPhone and all of your to-dos for the day will appear on your wrist.

We look forward to hearing what you think of the latest edition to the Things family!

If you like Things for Apple Watch, you can share today’s news on Twitter or Facebook. Also, a big thank you to Peter Gromer for writing the great music for our video.

Today Widget for iOS

We’re happy to kick off the new year with a fantastic feature for both of our iOS apps: a new widget for Notification Center that provides quick access to the to-dos you’re working on today. Available now in Things 2.6 for iPhone and iPad.

Things Today Widget on iPhone

Of all the features we’ve added to Things over the last few months, we think you’ll find today’s new widget the most useful. It puts your most important to-dos in the most accessible place, and makes managing your day so much easier.

Curate Your Day

Things’ core principle is pretty simple: focus on what you can do now, to the exclusion of all else. This is epitomized by the app’s Today feature—which allows you to curate a selection of to-dos from multiple different projects, and work on them throughout the day in a single, focused list:

New to Things? See how it works.

At Your Fingertips

With today’s release of Things 2.6, this curated Today list is now available in the Notification Center on your iPhone and iPad. No matter what app you’re in, you can access these to-dos with a quick swipe from the top of your screen.

The new widget allows you to mark items complete (or canceled), and provides a button for quickly creating new ones: it launches the app ready to type, and saves the new item in your inbox. Have a look:

Things’ Today Widget

One of the great things about this feature is that you don’t even have to unlock your phone to use it, so it’s easy to take a quick glance at your list while you’re out shopping or running errands in town. And because your to-dos are listed alongside your calendar events, it’s the perfect place to get an overview of your day.

Things 2.6 for iPhone and Things 2.6 for iPad are available for download now, and the Today Widget has already been added to Things for Mac.

We hope you enjoy this feature!

Today’s updates also include some URI scheme improvements for developers and pro users. You can read more about the schema here.

+3 Million

During Apple’s promotion of Things for iOS last week, the apps climbed the charts to #1, racking up over three million downloads along the way. This is a fantastic number. We want to say a big Welcome to all our new users—there have never been so many people using Things!

Things #1 in the App Store charts

We’re pleased to say that Things Cloud has handled the considerable surge in traffic flawlessly. There’s no better way to test the merits of a cloud service than to have it scale so quickly, and it’s great to know that Things Cloud has the chops.

Things for Mac also rose to #1 in the Mac App Store in many countries. We had planned to keep it on sale for just the week, but decided to extend it so that anyone still using the trial has time to take advantage of the deal—get it before Friday, December 5th and save 30%. This promotion has now ended.

Apple’s promotion has driven a lot of traffic to our website, and we were excited to see that over half a million people have already read the Getting Started guide since last week. If you’re new to Things, it’s a great place to start.

We’ve now turned our attention back to Things 2.6 for iPhone and iPad, which includes the new Today Widget for Notification Center. That update is now in alpha and we hope to be able to submit it to the App Store soon.

Happy Things-giving!

Update: This promotion has now ended.
Things - Free App of the Week

As a special gift for Thanksgiving, Apple has chosen Things for iPhone and iPad as their Free App of the Week—a worldwide promotion that makes both apps free for everyone, for the first time ever. This is a fantastic opportunity to get your hands on these award-winning productivity apps.

All three versions of Things have recently been updated with a fresh new design, and had great new features added for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite—such as the Add to Things extension for creating to-dos from other apps, support for Handoff across all your devices, background refresh, support for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and a Today Widget for OS X.

Only the iOS apps are being promoted by Apple this week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you get the Mac app, too! So this week only, you can get 30% off Things for Mac as well. This promotion has now ended.

Getting Started with Things

Things provides a world-class sync service that keeps all your devices up-to-date. It’s fast, reliable, and entirely free. Once you’ve installed the app, just go into the settings, turn it on, and create an account. Be sure to log into the same account on your other devices, and all your projects and to-dos will instantly sync between them.

As you begin using the apps, you’ll find that they are designed to be very light-weight and easy to use—getting organized with Things is fun. To get you started, we’ve prepared a short guide on how to get the most out of Things.

Of course, you can also find information about the apps on our support page, and our support team is always here to help with any other questions you might have.

Spread the Word

We hope you’ll find a lot of benefit from using Things. If you think your family or friends might also like the apps, be sure to let them know about this promotion before Friday, November 28—that’s when it ends!

You can share the news on Facebook or retweet our announcement on Twitter.

Happy Thanksgiving!