Input review: Multi-service cloud console for iOS is a slick idea with limited options
By J.R. Bookwalter
At a glance
As the number of apps installed on our iOS devices has increased since the App Store debuted seven years ago, switching between them has given users another first-world problem to grumble about. Apple has attempted to alleviate this suffering with folders and now 3D Touch Quick Actions, but wouldn’t it be great to use a single app for quickly performing tasks across a variety of different services?
A console for the cloud
Billed as “the cloud console,” Input is a universal app that does just that, allowing iOS users to create Google Calendar events, send Venmo payments, and add or append notes to documents in Dropbox or Evernote using one-tap text commands—all without switching between different apps.
When launched, Input presents a blank command line ready for the user to issue one of the instructions displayed above it; these vary depending upon the services you choose to activate. For example, Evernote offers four commands: Create a note in the default notebook, show the text inside a note, and add a line to the beginning or end of any note.
The app keeps a running log of activity for later reference, and on occasions when there’s no internet connection available, Input saves your commands and displays a badge on the app’s icon as a reminder. At present, sending saved commands requires manual intervention—I’d prefer something like actionable push notification reminders to streamline the process instead.
Although the idea of text commands seems a little backwards at first, Input is easy to use and works well, assuming one or more of the unfortunately limited range of services currently supported by the app are part of your daily workflow. In my case, there just wasn’t enough here to get excited about yet.
Input currently offers 16 different services in total, although only two of them can be added before paying $2 via in-app purchase, which increases that number to five. 16 services may sound like a lot, but I could only find five of interest to me personally: Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, Translate, and Twitter. Thankfully, you’re not stuck with the same two: Disconnecting a service frees up that slot for adding another.
If you already use Asana, Buffer, Google Calendar, Trello, or Wunderlist on a frequent basis, you may find Input far more useful than I did. But fair warning: You won’t even be able to add services without first logging in with a Google account, which is used to store settings in the cloud and sync your entries between devices. Though it may be convenient for some, that requirement is likely to be a deal breaker for many others.
As it stands now, Input is really more of a cool proof-of-concept app than anything else. The existing selection of cloud services is far too narrow, but the potential is there for this to be something really cool in the future. Since it’s free for two services, it’s still worth a look—assuming the Google login requirement doesn’t scare you off entirely.