Keep Clear: When An App Goes Viral

There is a thin line between success and failure on the iOS App Store, particularly given the fact that there is now in excess of half a million apps on the Store and there can be only so many at the top. What makes an app hit the heady heights of apps like Angry Birds, Reeder, Path or Instapaper? Some rely on functionality, some rely on heavy marketing and some rely on a sexy UI. That’s where the Clear app comes in.

Clear is a to-do list app that was released today onto the iOS App Store for $0.99. The app, it’s pre-release popularity bolstered by heavy marketing and a resultant high amount of anticipation will likely hit the top seller list very, very quickly. The app itself looks very simple, allowing the user to utilize a wide range of multi-touch gestures to control the app and compile to-do lists in an easy and fun manner.

However, in terms of functionality when compared to other to-do list apps like Wunderlist, it is relatively limited. There is no cloud sync and there is no Mac version of the app, meaning that users will always have to pick up their iOS device in order to look at their list. With regards to a Mac version, perhaps there never will be one, particularly given the heavy reliance on multitouch gestures in the iOS app.

That’s not to say Clear is a bad app. On the contrary, it is excellent for what it has been designed to do. I’m just curious about whether or not the app will actually be adopted by iPhone and iPod touch users for use on a daily basis. Once the novelty of the extraordinary user interface has worn off, where will it stand?

However, that issue may not matter in the long run. Clear is already likely selling very well, and, given the snowball effect that you tend to see with successful apps on the App Store, will be on the top seller list for some time.

In effect, it has gone viral, even before the reviews are in.


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  • quietstorms

    I find the excitement about this app curious as well. I know there are respected Mac and iOS devs behind this but it still pales in comparison to Apple’s own Reminders app because it lacks  Siri integration, recurring todo’s, iPad version and iCloud sync, etc. 

    The fanfare seems as much to do with UI design and UX than anything else. The app is fun to use (which is strange to say of a todo app) but I wonder how many will choose it over Reminders. For the pro users, Omnifocus still is the main choice.