Flexibits, the team behind the excellent calendar app Fantastical, is out with a brand new Mac app that turns your messy contacts database into something completely usable and interactive. Cardhop is a super smart contacts app that makes the built-in Contacts app feel like it was made 20 years ago.

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That’s partly because Apple’s Contacts app hasn’t changed in several versions aside from gaining a rich leather address book theme then shedding the leather in favor of its current stark design. Personally, I don’t launch Apple’s Contacts app very often. I treat it like a database that’s primarily used to populate contact information in Mail, Messages, FaceTime, and Calendar. Even as a basic database, Apple’s Contacts app can feel clunky and not well considered. You just don’t notice because something magnitudes better hasn’t existed.

Cardhop is completely different.

Just like Fantastical, Cardhop intelligently parses natural text to create new entries and launch actions. For example, you can type (or copy and paste) ‘Tim Cook 1 Apple Park, Cupertino, CA  95014 800-275-2273 ceo@apple.com birthday 11/1/1960’ and Cardhop will create the new entry with the correct fields populated.

This makes sense since a name looks like a name, an address looks like an address, and a phone number looks different than an email address, but the same single text entry in the built-in Contacts app creates a new contact with the first name ‘Tim Cook 1 Apple Park, Cupertino, CA  95014 800-275-2273 ceo@apple.com birthday 11/1/1960’ and no other details.

Easy contact creation is only the start of what Cardhop offers.

The natural language parser also lets you easily search contacts and even launch actions. Search ‘Email Tim’ and Cardhop will only present the email address for Tim Cook and not all the other information in the contact. Cardhop also features action buttons throughout the app for calling, messaging, videoing, and emailing contacts.

You can even compose a new tweet or find navigation directions to a contact with natural language input. Messages, Mail, and FaceTime are the default apps for the top four actions, and Cardhop lets you set other top actions like Skype calling in the preferences.

Cardhop is also designed with consideration for how people actually interact with contacts. The most basic view presents upcoming birthdays and the contacts you most recently added or interacted with. You can still view the full database organized alphabetically, but hiding all contacts and relying on search and recents is the best experience.

How Cardhop handles the notes field is also well considered.

Say you make a note in your Tim Cook contact for ‘Attended Auburn University and loves football’ as an example. The built-in Contacts app hides this note entry below every other field which means it’s often out of view unless you scroll on populated contacts. Out of sight, out of mind.

Cardhop recognizes that adding a note to a contact means you probably want to be reminded about that information before you interact with that contact so the notes field is always visible. Having a persistent field for notes means you may actually use and benefit from the feature.

There’s also support for viewing multiple accounts and groups in an optional sidebar, and Cardhop features both a dark (default) and light theme. Cardhop lives in the menu bar (like how Fantastical started) as a lightweight, fluid app, and you can optionally show or hide the menu bar or Dock icon (which is a beautifully illustrated sandwich that looks like a contact card out of a rolodex). You can also pull Cardhop out of the menu bar and just use it like a windowed app if you prefer. A flexible app from Flexbits!

Cardhop is hands-down the best way to manage and interact with contacts on the Mac. The intelligence and consideration of Fantastical applied to contacts and communication is essential for anyone who relies on relationships for work.

Cardhop for Mac is available starting today on the Mac App Store or from flexbits.com/cardhop. Cardhop will be regularly priced at $19.99, and early customers can pick up the excellent utility for $14.99 (25% off) for a limited time as a special launch price.

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