Omnifocus 2 for iPhone Review

Thank you, Omnigroup, for thinking outside of the box.

I tried quite unsuccessfully to use Omnifocus v1 for iPhone in my workflow, but found it to be too clunky and cumbersome.  If I don’t enjoy using an app, it creates friction and resistance.  Once that psychological barrier is up, it’s just not going to be part of my trusted system.

Now there’s a new kid on the block, and I purchased it with my hard-earned money the moment it hit the app store.  Let’s be honest, Omnifocus 2 doesn’t even remotely resemble version one.  Everything can be accessed with fewer taps, and can be done in a more intuitive way.  It’s not at all bad to look at, either!

I have a very in-depth review in the works, so this is more or less a teaser.  In the meantime, I’m curious what questions you all have about the app?  I’ll be sure to include your answers in the full review when it hits the web!

Short Version

The Good: Omnifocus 2 for iPhone takes an incredibly powerful and comprehensive GTD app and manages to package it into a simple, and rather delightful user experience. It’s fast enough that I can use it as a quick capture tool for thoughts and ideas. The forecast mode is immediately visible on the main screen. All the powerful controls of the full desktop app are present, but cleverly hidden from view until you need them. The iOS 7 design is clean and crisp, but avoids feeling sterile like so many other iOS 7 redesigns we’ve seen.

The Bad: This new version does have a number of interface quirks that I’ve already become accustomed to. One annoyance that I keep running into is with the forecast view button on the main page. It shows the next several days and the number of tasks due on those dates, yet if I tap on a future date from the main screen, it always takes me to today’s forecast. This requires a second tap to get to the day I want to look at that seems completely unneccesary. I know, first world problems, right?

Honestly, the worst thing about Omnifocus 2 for iPhone? Omnifocus for iPad becomes a struggle it look at. My longing for the iPad update grows daily.

The Conclusion: If you are a regular user of Omnifocus for Mac or iPad, I can’t recommend Omnifocus 2 for iPhone enough. If they manage to apply this same combination of power, flexibility, simplicity and design to the iPad and Mac versions, I have to believe you’ll see former Things loyalists migrating in droves. Right now, the worst part about Omnifocus 2 for iPhone is that the iPad version feels far behind, and the desktop version seems outright archaic. For people new to GTD, it may be difficult to leverage the full capabilities of Omnifocus 2 for iPhone, as so many of the power features are hidden from view normally. It may be easier to acclimate yourself with Omnifocus for iPad to dial in your workflow, and then bring that into the iPhone from there.

For all you Omnifocus guys who have been holding out, stop reading and buy it already.

GTD Apps for Mac OS X – A Mega-Update

As we continue to work hard on the GTD Reviews redesign, we feel it’s important to keep our information current and relevant.  Today we’d like to review the apps listed in our Mac App Comparisons page, explain the changes we have indexed, and review what’s new in the world of Mac for GTDers.

The following is a list of all of the apps that are (or were) indexed in the Mac App Comparisons page, and a description of what’s new, and what we’ve changed!

Actiontastic

Actiontastic hasn’t been updated in over three years, so we’re considering it stale and obsolete, and removing it from our index.

Chandler

Chandler was updated as recently as April of 2009, so while it’s been over a year, it still lies within our 2-year standard.  No changes since the introduction of our app comparison pages, however.

EasyTask Manager

Another app that hasn’t seen any new changes on the desktop version, but its most recent update was October of 2009, so it’s far from stale.  In addition, they now have an iPhone app that is at version 1.9, updated as recently as April 23, 2010. Update:  They also have a new iPad app that is at version 1.1.

Midnight Inbox

Now at 1.4.4, updated Feb 22, 2010, though curiously they are very cryptic about what features this update brings, stating: “This update brings bug fixes, speed improvements, and feature enhancements.“  Profound, really.

What is new, however, is an iPad version, which in my opinion looks gorgeous.  We’ll have a functionality report with the new site redesign in the coming weeks.

OmniFocus

While the desktop app hasn’t been updated again since October of last year, we’ve seen several updates to the iPhone app.  This includes the recent major update to version 1.7, specifically for the new iPhone 4 and its “retina display.”

We’re also excited to see the impending release of the OmniFocus for iPad app.  Omnigroup has been very open about the ongoing development of the app, including today’s update on their company’s blog.

TaskPaper

Desktop version is now at 2.2.2, bringing several minor bug fixes and subtle usability updates to the minimalistic app.  In addition, they have released an app compatible with both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad in recent months that sync nicely with the desktop version.

Things

Now at 1.3.4 as of an update on June 24th, and while the changes are minor, they are many.  Head over to the Cultured Code website for the full release notes.  They also have a well-established iPhone app, and they were one of the first to release an app for the iPad as well.  Here’s a neat introduction video they’ve put together for the new iPad app.

The Hit List

A beautiful, award-winning app that has sparked quite a bit of controversy over its lack of update activity, The Hit List updated to version 0.9.3.19 on April 30th, 2010.  Oddly the only thing updated was the beta expiration date to July 1st of 2010.  While the developer, PotionFactory has been otherwise silent about the development of the app, this at least shows that it hasn’t completely fallen off their radar.

Note also that the much-desired iPhone app was claimed to be under development last December through their twitter account (@thehitlist).  Note in the latest tweet, they linked to a screen cap of the supposed iPhone app, though with no discussion of it since then, many are wondering if this magnificent Mac App is truly dead, or just hibernating?

What’s Next

(link) Hasn’t been updated in over two years, so we’re considering it stale and obsolete as well, and removing it from our comparison pages.

What are we missing?

Okay, I know some of you use a GTD app for mac that we didn’t list here, or in our index.  If that’s the case, please, please, pretty please – comment below or even email me.  We want this to be the one-stop-shop for newbie GTDers looking for the right app for them, and we can’t be that if we’re missing apps!  Thanks, all!

What Makes a GTD App Great?

GTD ListFrom business professionals to stay-at-home moms, GTD has engulfed itself into the life of thousands of people. It’s a fast-paced methodology because it’s meant to fit seamlessly into your life – regardless of how busy you are or are not.

With that, there are developers out there writing desktop, mobile and web applications for personal productivity – and some directly for the GTD methodology. We have an exciting redesign coming that will launch our reviews of many popular apps, but in the meantime I have been looking over scores of apps and seeing many similarities, and some with pretty strong differences.

That’s not necessarily a surprise of course, but it does make me think of what developers are thinking when they sit down to write their applications. Are they taking into consideration the wave of GTD users, or assuming that most don’t incorporate the GTD methodology completely? It doesn’t really matter what the answer is, because there are strong programs out there regardless of what degree of GTDer and productivity-ninja you are. What I am curious about though, is what you’re looking for.

No really.  What makes a productivity app great to you? Have you thought about it at all? I have. For me there is one thing that matters most.

Flow – Maybe you can’t relate to this, but I live a pretty busy life and have a lot going on. That’s not complaint (there’s never really a need for that), but I say that to make the point that when I’m considering a productivity tool, I’m looking for something that will seamlessly fit into the flow of my existence. Something that I can use on my mobile, and sit down at my laptop and have everything there too.

With that “flow”, the other thing that is synonymous with that topic is ease-of-use. Call me minimalistic, but I don’t think we need to have a seven-step process to do something that can be accomplished in three, for example. So I like it when an app is simple to use too.

Personally, I’m a GTDer, so having it be fully compatible with the GTD system is a must.

So what are you looking for? Do you like the flow I explained? Was there something I didn’t mention that you think is even more important? Maybe you think I’m completely off here – let me know!  GTD Reviews is becoming the voice of what people want out of their productivity apps. That starts with you voicing your opinion.