There is definitely an irony to how I keep not getting around to writing a review of OmniFocus, the software that keeps me on track with everything I have or want to do. I think it’s because the software is so important to me that I want to do it justice. Anyway, here’s a review from someone who wasn’t an existing user of the earlier version, isn’t that fussed about any To Do managers, and says up front that they came to OmniFocus as a skeptic.
Spoiler alert: they like it now.
I don’t agree with how it argues the iPhone version is too expensive, though, and they are mistaken about the iPad one:
This brings us to our one main criticism, though: Omni Group have chosen to make the iPhone (and forthcoming iPad) version of Omnifocus equal to the Mac version in virtually all respects, thus allowing mobile-centric users to buy and use just the mobile version alone if they choose. While we applaud this, it also means that Mac users who have paid $40 for the regular desktop version ($80 for the Pro version) will have to pay an additional $20 for the iPhone version, essentially just for syncing and quick-entry or editing in the case of some users. The company may want to consider also creating a more lightweight free or low-cost “companion version” for those who primarily use the Mac version and just want some basic on-the-go functions.
The iPad mistake first: there already is one and has been for some time. Their confusion is that it is on its first version and a second is currently being developed. Last September we got OmniFocus 2 for iPhone, now we have OmniFocus 2 for Mac, at some point soon we’ll have OmniFocus 2 for iPad.
It’s an interesting little dilemma for me as someone who recommends this software a lot. Rewind a beat to before the 2 versions began coming out: it was very easy to say you should buy the iPad edition. That was easily the best with a mix of OmniFocus’s powerful features and a particularly easy design. OmniFocus for iPhone was fine but you would struggle to use it without one of the other versions in your life. And OmniFocus 1 for Mac was this bionic behemoth that had more power than you’d need to crack a concrete slab but was extremely hard to use.
Now OmniFocus 2 for Mac is the easiest to use and, I think, the best version. I like the iPad one but it’s weird how old it seems compared to the new design. And where I used to always turn to my iPad when I was doing a lot of OmniFocus work like the recommended regular reviews, now I tend to save that up until I’m at my Mac.
Nonetheless, you can do everything most users would use most often usefully on the iPad version. If it weren’t that we know for certain that – and don’t know at all when – there will be an OmniFocus 2 for iPad, I would say the iPad is still the one to get when you can only get one. It’s portable, powerful and easy to use. OmniFocus 2 for iPhone is much improved on its previous version – I liked the previous version a lot, I just like this one more – but I still believe the iPhone version needs one of the others.
MacNN thinks this more strongly than I do. Its argument is that you shouldn’t have to pay so much for an iPhone OmniFocus app if you’re only going to use it to add the odd task in during the day. I’d say that’s fair enough, but there are other ways to add tasks. If you don’t have OmniFocus for iPhone, just email a task into OmniFocus. I do this a lot wherever I am because so much of my work comes through email. It’s just tap, forward, send, gone into my To Do list.
So I don’t agree that one has to use OmniFocus 2 for iPhone. But I suspect you will. I’m not certain now how I got into this but I’m pretty sure I bought the iPhone one first and tried to last with that for a while, tried to get used to it and to test it out. But caved within a day or two and bought the iPad one. Then, inexorably, I bought the Mac one.
That was all version 1 of the software and if you’re wondering, yes, I did. I bought version 2. Both OmniFocus 2 for iPhone, on the day it was released, and OmniFocus 2 for Mac, on the day it was released. Individually they are more expensive than many To Do applications and jointly they are a punch to the bank account – but only if they aren’t right for you. If they are, they are worth the cost and then some.
Wait, this is turning into my own review. I should really get on that.