Dozens of apps have tried and failed to smarten up your calendar using gimmicky third-party integration, auto-completed contact information, and even "related" emails that might not be so related. Sunrise, which launched mid-March, has chosen to take things one step at a time. The app began as a charming Google Calendar client for iPhone tied into Facebook events and birthdays, but soon after added LinkedIn integration to find photos of event attendees. In the latest version of Sunrise, which launches today, an even bigger emphasis is placed on people, saving you a trip to your Contacts app in the process.
Now, tapping an attendee on the event screen takes you to a contact card which includes a person's Facebook cover photo, professional experience, and most importantly, three big buttons to call, text, or email them. The app pulls in this data from Facebook, LinkedIn, and the contact cards already on your phone. Sunrise strikes a fine balance between providing enough information to reach friends or colleagues and bloating with nebulous information. In some ways, it's even more useful than the contact cards on your phone or in an app like Cobook. "A lot of apps give you more information around who you're meeting, like Cue or Evernote Hello, but that's another app you need to check," Sunrise co-founder Pierre Valade once told me.
Sunrise 1.1 adds another few features including the ability to create recurring events and a Notes field which syncs with Google Calendar. Lastly, the app now allows you to add people to events without emailing them (convenient, since not everyone uses Google Calendar). In this way, you can see the photos of everyone attending an event. This is something Google Calendar, iCloud, nor Outlook offer, and lets you make events a bit more personal when they'd otherwise be just text entries.
Sunrise doesn't yet include event search, iCloud support, or Exchange support, but it's quickly establishing itself as an agile calendar app to keep an eye on. The Sunrise team says it looks forward to testing more integrations soon — like iCloud, TripIt, and others — but only once they're good and ready.