Qwingle, which requires iOS 7 and is available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, is a family focused calendar app that might be just the thing you need to manage back to school schedules.
First off, this app is designed to be basic, fun and visually appealing. Its main focus is tracking social events. Think of Qwingle like one of those family planning wall calendars with cute stickers and brightly colored labels.
If you are a visual person, like me, you'll appreciate the color-coded categories and icons, as a lot of calendars don't have this. There's an option to filter events by category, as well.
As far as contact management goes, you can sort your contacts into groups. There are suggested group names, but it's possible to edit them based on your needs. The default groups will clue you in on the type of person who would get the most out of Qwingle.
There are some interesting social features. There's a status update option, similar to standard social networks. You can share these updates, as well as events, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. People in a group can comment and like an event or status within Qwingle. All of this combined with the option to upload photos to events and status updates, makes the app function like a social diary.
If you want an event to be visible to only yourself or a specific group, set it to private. Only those invited will see it.
A few other things to note: When you add an event location, Qwingle links you to directions and a weather forecast. Plus, there are special offers for nearby restaurants, theaters, accommodations and other attractions.
A big drawback here is that your contacts must also use the app. Because of this, only a very specific subset of people will use it. There will be a lot of individuals who won't want to bother with another calendar.
That being said, Qwingle is great for busy families who need to stay in touch and keep track of each other's schedules. Since it's back to school season, managing everyone's time while you get back into the groove of things is a juggling act.
The social features allow you to communicate with your kids when you change your schedule. Likewise, they can let you know their afterschool plans. Sure you can text, but it's nice having schedules and related conversations all in one place.
Even if you have another calendar app like Tempo to keep track of your professional life, adding a family focused calendar to your productivity arsenal might be useful in maintaining your sanity.
The app will also appeal to teens and college age kids who want organize and share their plans with a select group of friends. Qwingle can become something of an exclusive inner circle secret. The social sharing aspect is an added bonus.
For the average person, Qwingle doesn't give you any reason to use it. But that's okay. It's not built for everyone. It's for a very specific demographic.
Yet, even within the sphere of family centric calendars, Qwingle's social features likely aren't enough to make it more attractive than other options, like Cozi.
Still, Qwingle is free, so it's worth the test drive, especially during the back to school rush.