Gist on Tuesday is releasing an application for the iPhone that brings many of the site's big features to user's small pockets. The free app is meant to compliment Gist.com's people-analyzing and organizing tools, letting users get an alert on upcoming meetings as well as background information on those who they're meeting with. This includes how important the user's contacts are, as determined by Gist's algorithms.
Where users will spend most of their time though is the app's dashboard, which breaks down the latest news about people and companies they're corresponding with based on news stories, blog posts, and tweets. This screen doubles as a RSS reading tool too, since you can read small article summaries that your contacts have noted, as well as bookmark them and open them in Safari. It's not the best way to get news headlines on the iPhone, but it's nearly identical to how it works on Gist.com, which should help longtime users feel right at home.
Other nice features include being able to send your meeting attendees a quick alert that you're running late, and a media viewer that lets you very quickly peruse attachments you've been sent from one of your contacts via e-mail. These two tools alone could be their own iPhone apps.
All is not sugar and spice though. I found the app's loading quite long at times, which can be a deal breaker when you're trying to use it on a cellular data connection--as most users are likely to be doing. And there is no way to use the app without first setting up an account at Gist.com; you cannot do this from the app itself.
It's also inherently missing a way to be integrated into the iPhone's e-mail and calendaring services. This is entirely Apple's fault but means that while you can do a whole lot of viewing of your connected calendar events and e-mail conversations from the app, as far as using it as a two-in-one office tool, it comes up a little short for things like creating new events and searching through old conversations. That falls in line with Gist.com though, which is simply there to serve as an organizational layer on top of the e-mailing and calendaring tools you're already using. It just sticks out a whole lot more on a device where so much of the business utility revolves around those two applications.
The iPhone is not the first platform destined to get a Gist app, but according to the company, it's been the most asked for by users. Versions for other devices will be on the way next year.