One of the many advantages of the iPhone is the inclusion of Exchange ActiveSync which allows email, contacts and calendar items to be pushed to the device. Although they are licensing ActiveSync from Microsoft, it seems that Apple is devoting little time to fully implement the ActiveSync functionality. One of the big holes is the lack of support for tasks. This does not seem to be an affront to Microsoft, the base iPhone OS has no support whatsoever for tasks. Maybe Apple does not believe in task management, hard to believe but here we are at OS 3.0 and users have to rely on third parties to provide any kind of task support on the iPhone.
If you search for "task" at AppShopper, the results include 690 applications with some sort of task functionality. Out of those I found three which synchronize directly with Exchange. TaskData, Tasks'n Notes, and TaskTask. Back in January, I plunked down $12.99 for TaskData. I had high hopes but even with the latest version 3, I have never been able to get it to work consistently with my GoDaddy Hosted Exchange account and for the price the support has been lackluster. Even though the application looks good, it sounds like the developer does not fully understand how to use the Exchange web services. I would recommend staying away from TaskData, especially for the price. Yesterday, I decided to try TaskTask, it is a new Exchange task application and for now is selling for $1.99. I was pleasantly surprised, the configuration uses the Exchange Autodiscover feature (worked with GoDaddy) and although the functionality is basic the synchronization is fast and so far it is working consistently. The only missing functionality I have found is the inability to set reminder times which I believe is an iPhone OS issue.
Hopefully that will come in time, but I wanted to explore the possibility of having task reminders. I found a somewhat convoluted solution which works with Apple's alert push model. I will describe the solution in part 2.