You’ve probably heard that Fantastical 2 for iPad is out. I’m a bit slow writing about it, but not for lack of excitement. This is an amazing app, and even after leaving my job and having a lot less on my schedule, it’s a joy to use.

The basic idea behind Fantastical on all platforms (it’s also available on Mac and iPhone) has always been natural-language event entry. “Lunch with Dan at 2” turns into a full-fledged calendar event with automatic reminders. This holds true on the iPad version, which adds full support for dictation on devices that can handle it. It even expands the parser to handle repeating events and alarms right in the syntax when you create events or reminders.

What Fantastical 2 for iPad really brings to the table1 is a reconsidered layout and gesture setup that Flexibits has dubbed “The Fantastical Dashboard.” It’s a multi-pane view showing a day ticker, a list view and a calendar view. You can pull down on the day ticker to expand it into a week view, which is one of the many nice, gesture-based features of the app.

The Reminders support is outstanding. Your reminders are included in your calendar, but you can also swipe from the left side of the screen (or tap the checkmark at the top) and dig into your lists. Fantastical 2 supports dates, times and even setting up geofence reminders right in the application. You can use the same natural language style to add reminders, as well, just by starting with “reminder,” “todo,” “task,” or the more natural “remind me to…”

Swipe from the right (or click the magnifying glass) to enter a wicked-fast search mode for finding any of your events (including Facebook/calendar Birthdays). Tapping and holding on a day in the calendar, week or day ticker view starts a new task on that day. You just fill in the rest. There’s even TextExpander support, so you can create snippets for events you enter often. Events with sufficient data get add-ons like maps and easy contact links for invitees.

Fantastical works with iCloud, Google Calendar, Exchange and more systems, meaning whatever you already have set up on your iPad will just work. When you open the app for the first time, everything is already in place.

All of this adds up to an amazing application, and definitely my favorite in the realm of calendar apps. Fantastical 2 for iPad is currently $9.99 on the App Store as an intro price, and will be $14.99 after that. If you’re one of a lucky five people who sign up for the random drawing below, you can get it for free.

The giveaway

I have five TEN copies of Fantastical 2 for iPad to give away ($14.99 value). The contest is open to anyone that can make use of an App Store promo code. All you have to do is sign up below with a full name and email address (it’s private, and only for sending codes to you when you win). The winners will be drawn on Thursday, April 17th, at Noon CT. Best of luck!

Update: there were originally five copies available, but Flexibits decided that you all deserve double the odds of winning and provided five additional codes for a total of ten copies!

Sorry, this giveaway has ended.

I also encourage you to check out Federico Viticci’s in-depth review over at Macstories, and Gabe Weatherhead’s tips and tricks.

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