To Things or not to Things (3)

Do you know where they said that?

Undoubtedly those tweets are older. However, most of them only mention “subscriptions” in the context of bundling the three platform’s apps into one purchase. Since Apple now offers cross-platform app-bundles incl. macOS this is solvable without a subscription.

Things 1 was released in 2007 to the Mac, 2008 to the iPhone and 2010 to the iPad.
Things 2 (with Things Cloud sync) followed in 2012 for the three platforms. Watch support was added in 2015.
Things 3 followed in 2017 and is still seeing frequent updates.

If they would be sticking to their pattern of releasing a major update every 5 years, we might see Things 4 in 2022. I highly question 2021, maybe even 2022. Things 3 is design-wise still way ahead of the curve. It is one of the best designed cross-platform apps and the interaction design incl. keyboard interaction is uncontested. They also haven’t designed themselves into a corner, yet.

So far Cultured Code seems to sustain themselves very well. It seems to be a deliberately small, but very focussed team.

I could however see them releasing Things 4 as another stand alone purchase with a slightly discounted cross-platform bundle price. I also could imagine Things 4 being rolled out with an entirely optional low-priced monthly/yearly subscription to add a collaboration feature, which would require a lot of additional effort on their server side. Personally this wouldn’t be of any use for me, though.

I really wish there was an Android app and web app for Things. Such a beautiful app.

Once you have a web app you have a platform for subscriptions. I know of very few apps that have web components that aren’t subscription apps.

As for Android, it’s a big market but developers find the costs involved in coding and supporting tend to be difficult, largely because Android users tend to be allergic to spending money on apps. I recently read about how the developer of one app (I think it was Hello Weather, but I’m not positive) bemoaned that something like only 10% of revenue came from Android, with 90% from iOS.

Nevertheless, as competition intensifies in the productivity space, it seems that developers generally have found that they need to make their apps more cross-platform, and they need to integrate some sort of subscription. There are lots of gorgeous web-service-first apps out there now (ClickUp, Taskade, and ZenKit come immediately to mind) so an app that restricts itself to sales (and having to stockpile new features in order to prove itself worthy of user upgrades) on fewer platforms is going to have to thread a needle with an increasingly small eye.

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Not to mention that the diversity of devices and platforms is hard to keep up with in the android market.

Well, they are hiring in that rough direction now:

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That’s some bad news… I looked at their job description and there is a sample project: “ Let’s create a simple backend for a web-based to-do app. The backend should support basic use cases like logging in and dealing with to-dos. It should also provide an export feature.”

To get a web app for Things 4, Cultured Code will definitely need a subscription. There’s no way around it unless someone has it figured out.

The 2Do app is also trying to figure out what to do with their app as well…

they already have a platform, in “things cloud”, so far used only to sync the database.

Sync is not what I meant

I know, just pointing out that they have already made a first step in the “platform” direction with the sync “service”.

Not that I mean the web app will / could be built upon the sync service or that the cost of maintaining it will /would be the same.


Well, there are a million apps with sync services and no web apps. They can easily be mutually exclusive.


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So it looks like D’Alessio was onto something…

So. Since becoming trapped at home, my brain keeps telling me that the power of Omnifocus is just getting in the way whereas Things would be nice and smooth and buttery.

Stupid brain.


It’s not true. Many of us are trying to deal with enough complexity in task management that Things becomes overloaded.

I mean, no built in saved searches!


Yeah I probably just need to do a major review, rip out the wires, drop a bunch of tasks from The Before Times, and rebuild it for my current reality.


I think this is probably the way to go. I’ve recently deleted a TON of projects that were either outdated or were able to be combined. For example, in the past I had a project for each of the repeating editorial features in a publication I create. Now I have one project for each issue, and all tasks go inside that project. I use tags to differentiate if I need to do that for some reason, but I’ve learned that since all those “sub-projects” are due at the same time (the drop-dead file-due date), having a bunch of separate projects wasn’t giving me anything useful.

Defer dates, due dates, and tags have been enough for me. So far.

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What’s the best way of adding reminders to Things with Alexa? Just IFTTT/Zapier?

A big issue for me is that the OF web app still doesn’t have perspectives.

I have to use a PC at work which makes Todoist seem like the best choice.