OmniFocus 2.1 update now available for OS X Yosemite

by Ken Case on March 18, 2015

On February 19, 2015, we shipped OmniFocus 2.1—the first of several planned OmniFocus releases in 2015. It features a new look and new features for OS X Yosemite, as well as a few bug fixes. The file format and syncing remain compatible with all previous versions of OmniFocus, on Mac and iOS. Because of the changes to support Yosemite, OmniFocus 2.1 now requires OS X v10.10 or higher.

Screenshot of OmniFocus 2.1 with a vibrant sidebar, new toolbar icons, and a Today extension

As I noted in January, we’re still planning on adding features to OmniFocus that will make it sync more responsively, to be easier to scan visually, and to be more efficient to use. This release is an important first step on that path!

Some of the new features in this release:

  • Vibrant Interface — We adjusted the OmniFocus interface to better match OS X Yosemite. That included making new toolbar icons, adjusting the appearance of some other elements, and incorporating vibrancy where appropriate.
  • Extensions — OmniFocus for Mac now has Today and Share extensions, just like on iOS. To enable the Today extension, click Edit at the bottom of Notification Center.
  • Sharing — In addition to accepting content from other apps, the text of actions can be shared from OmniFocus using the share button in the toolbar.
  • Tear-off View Options Popover — When the View Options popover is open, it can be dragged away from the window and exist on its own.

In addition to adding info on these and the other new features in this release, the Help menu content has been completely reformatted to be easier to use and should also look better on Retina screens. For the full details on this and the other features, changes, and fixes, check out the Release Notes. As always, this update is available for direct download from Omni as well as on the Mac App Store.

(On March 16 we released OmniFocus 2.1.1, with several crash fixes which didn’t make it into February’s release of OmniFocus 2.1.)

P.S. — All our apps are getting vibrant interfaces in Yosemite (first OmniGraffle 6.1, now OmniFocus 2.1, next OmniOutliner), but if prefer your interfaces to be fully opaque you can turn off that transparency system-wide: open System Preferences, and look for the “Reduce transparency” switch in Accessibility preferences (under Display).

Omni Productivity Pack coming to iPhone in Q1, 2015

by Ken Case on January 8, 2015

Diagramming. Project planning. Outlining. Task management. For several years, the Omni Group’s highly-acclaimed suite of productivity apps has been helping people put their iPads to work—and we’re very pleased to announce that we’re bringing the entire suite to iPhone.

All of Omni’s currently shipping iPad apps will be updated to be Universal apps, designed to feel at home on both iPad and iPhone. If you already own any of our current iPad apps, you will soon be able to use them on your iPhone at no additional cost.

What about OmniFocus for iPhone?

Since all of the apps in the Omni Productivity Pack will run on both iPad and iPhone, there will no longer be any need to purchase a separate app just to run OmniFocus on iPhone. The price for the new Universal app will be just $39.99 (a savings of $9.99 compared to the current two-app pricing for customers using OmniFocus on both devices)—and it will be a free upgrade for anyone currently using OmniFocus 2 for iPad.

Customers who want to upgrade from the iPhone app to the Universal one can simply pay the difference in the prices by taking advantage of a $20 Complete My Bundle option we’ll make available. Of course, we’ll continue to update OmniFocus 2 for iPhone, but Pro features such as custom perspectives will only be available in the Universal app.

We really appreciate the early support from those of you who have already purchased OmniFocus 2 for both iPhone and iPad. To show that appreciation in a concrete way, we will be offering a $10 USD* rebate—through May 15, 2015—once the Universal app has shipped so that you won’t have paid any more for the two apps than someone who buys the Universal app.

  • Payable in USD via check or Paypal, from a US bank.

A review of the Omni Group’s 2014 and our plans for 2015

by Ken Case on January 8, 2015

Hi, all! Once again, it’s the time of year when I like to review our previous year and to share our plans for the upcoming year—not because I can predict the future with 100% accuracy (as the review often shows!), but because I think it’s important to talk about where we think we’re headed so that you can make decisions about whether you want to join us on our journey.

I’ll be sharing our plans for 2015 in a moment. But first, let’s take a look back at where I said we were headed last year. I said that we would ship major upgrades to the Mac editions of OmniOutliner and OmniFocus, continue to work on making our apps accessible, and redesign the remaining apps in our iPad line-up (which were looking rather dated on iOS 7 next to the apps we updated in 2013). I’m very pleased to say that every one of those goals were met in 2014: we shipped OmniOutliner 4 on January 15, shipped OmniFocus 2 on May 21, and then (even with the surprises we’ve now come to expect from Apple’s developer conference in June) we shipped redesigned versions of OmniFocus for iPad and OmniGraffle for iPad on September 18 (the day iOS 8 launched). I should note that these new iPad apps weren’t just redesigns: both apps now offer significantly more functionality with their Pro upgrades. OmniFocus can now build custom perspectives on the iPad for the first time ever, while OmniGraffle can now import and export documents from Microsoft® Visio® 2013, perform shape combinations, and edit custom data on shapes.

I’m also very pleased to note that we were also able to offer upgrade discounts to every customer who had previously purchased any of these apps from the App Store—an issue which had been a very big concern for us in 2013, but which we finally resolved when we introduced Pro Upgrade discounts with OmniGraffle 6 on the Mac App Store.

We also continued to work on making our apps more accessible, and we published more and more free e-books with approachable, in-depth explanations of our apps—books which were downloaded from the iBooks Store over 84,000 times in 2014.

So the good news is that 2014 went pretty much as planned! Though that’s not to say that the year didn’t bring some surprises. We’d barely had a chance to ship OmniFocus 2 for Mac when we suddenly found ourselves on the receiving end of a firehose of information from Apple about iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. But we were able to respond quickly: the day iOS 8 shipped, OmniFocus for iPad and iPhone were both ready with two new extensions: a Today extension which made it easy to see your day at a glance without opening the app, and a Sharing extension for easily capturing content shared from other apps. We also added interactive notifications, so you could quickly complete or snooze an OmniFocus reminder without having to open the app.

With iOS 8, Apple also updated the App Store to support app bundles which can be purchased together for a discount. So we now offer an Omni Productivity Pack bundle of all our iPad apps—which saves customers 12.5% when they purchase all four apps, very much like the bundle discount we’ve long offered on our own online store. (Sadly, app bundles are not yet available in the Mac App Store—we hope that changes soon!)

All of the above makes it sound like we were ready and relaxed on the day iOS 8 shipped—but, of course, the reality is a little more complex than that. Just days before iOS 8 shipped, Apple had yet another surprise to spring on us: iPhone 6 would come in two new sizes, the 6 (with more screen space than ever) and the 6 Plus (even more space!).

We didn’t have time to worry about all of those announcements that week, because that was also the day Apple gave us the final SDK and we were already scrambling to submit all our iOS 8 updates so they would be available on the day it shipped.

But we turned our attention to iPhone 6 as quickly as we could, and adapted OmniFocus to work at those larger sizes. (This effort seems to have been well-received: this week it’s featured by Apple as one of 20 “Great Apps for iPhone 6.”)

There is a lot more I could talk about—for example, we also shipped a free major update to OmniGraffle 6 (check out the video!) which brought back detachable inspectors and added new fill effects, new stroke and shadow types, and Visio 2013 support—but this post is already getting pretty long-winded and I know you’re eager to learn where we’re heading next.

So I’ll just note that the year ended well: we were very pleased to see Apple list OmniFocus 2—for both Mac and iPad—as two of the App Store’s Best of 2014. And we were also very honored when iMore inducted us into their Hall of Fame.

So, what’s next?

Well, adapting OmniFocus to those larger iPhone 6 screens got us thinking… It’s time to make OmniFocus for iPhone just as capable as OmniFocus for iPad is, bringing over all those features like Review mode and the ability to build custom perspectives. In fact, we think it’s time to go further than that, and bring all the functionality from all of our iPad apps over to iPhone—so I’m pleased to announce that the entire Omni Productivity Pack is coming to iPhone. (Some of the apps are already in TestFlight; please let us know if you’d like to help test!)

Yosemite brought a new look and feel to the Mac, so we’ll be updating all of our Mac apps to fit in well there. We started this process last year with OmniGraffle 6.1, but we’ll also be updating OmniFocus and OmniOutliner and OmniPlan. Yosemite also brought support for extensions similar to those on iOS 8, so we’ll be adding Today and Sharing extensions to OmniFocus for Mac when we update its interface.

While we’ve already adopted a number of iOS 8 features, one area we haven’t really touched yet is its support for iCloud Drive and third-party storage provider extensions. At a bare minimum, we’d like for all of our document-based iPad apps—er, I mean iOS apps—to be able to import and export documents from iCloud Drive or Box or anywhere else that provides a storage extension. We’d also like to ship a standalone OmniPresence app for iOS which provides its own storage extension to let you store documents from other apps on your own WebDAV server.

OmniPlan for Mac has long had the ability to import and export Microsoft Project documents, but that support has fallen slightly out of date over time. We’ll be updating OmniPlan to support documents created by Microsoft Project 2013, and we’ll also be bringing that support (both import and export) to the iPad app. (Er, I mean the iOS app! Clearly this move to having all our apps run on both iPhone and iPad is going to take some getting used to.)

OmniFocus 2 has been very well-received—setting a sales record in 2014—but in no way does that mean we think it’s finished! We’ve been listening to your feedback, and we will continue to update the app to make it sync more responsively, to be easier to scan visually, and to be more efficient to use.

Beyond all that, well, I’m sure Apple has more surprises coming at us again this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what they turn out to be! We’ll try to be as responsive to them this year as we have been to surprises in previous years.

As always, please keep in mind that this is a snapshot of our current direction, not a commitment to arriving anywhere on a particular schedule. Reliably predicting the future in that way is impossible—but I’m always happy to share which way we’re headed!

Thank you all for an incredible 2014. Though we’ve been in business for 22 years (self-funded since 1992, when Ross Perot was in presidential debates with Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush), this year not only brought new sales records for OmniFocus and OmniOutliner, but also set a sales record for our company overall. We’re very pleased to be able to set some of that profit aside for future needs while sharing some among our team.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but my hope is that 2014’s success is a sign that we continue to be on the right track—because we certainly can’t do any of this without your support! Thank you again.

(Feedback? I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on twitter at @kcase.)

Our Favorite Apps of 2014

by Derek R. on December 11, 2014

This week Apple put out a few lists of their favorite apps of 2014. We’re so thrilled that a few of our apps made it—it really made our Monday.

Here are a few of our favorite apps that we used a lot in 2014.

Farmvi—just kidding.

Waterlogue
Brian Covey - Support
Makes some of my crappy photographs look like non-crappy watercolors. Artistic talent simulator!

MarsEdit
Brent Simmons - Developer
I’ve been blogging at inessential.com with MarsEdit since MarsEdit existed — in fact, my blog doesn’t have any other user interface, and I wouldn’t want one. It’s one of those workhorse apps that does its job every single time I ask, without surprises and without fuss. I rely on it without having to worry about how I rely on it.

Overcast
David Messent - OmniFocus PM
Most of my favorite podcasts are recorded with a lot of attention paid to audio quality. For the ones that aren’t, Overcast’s Voice Boost feature makes listening much easier.

80 Days
Aaron Cherof - Support
It’s an interactive story-driven game inspired by the Jules Verne novel. Super captivating, and somehow manages to be completely different every time I play.

Prompt 2
Steve Schenk - Test
I’ve really been getting into Raspberry Pi—Prompt is perfect for logging in and fiddling from anywhere.

BBEdit 11
Chuck Toporek - Documentation
Hands-down, BBEdit FTW! I’ve used BBEdit for years and it has always been the most versatile app in my Dock. I use BBEdit daily for writing, editing, working on EPUBs, and more. It’s worth every damned penny. Plus Rich gives the best hugs. :)

Aeropress Timer
Andrew Burkhalter - Development
It quickly made my home screen and is now launched almost every day. I love the AeroPress art and simplified display of information when in timer mode. I also love that my 3 year old loves to watch the countdown and dictate the steps when we work together in the kitchen.

Editorial
Orion Protonentis - Support
From cross-document search, to building complex workflows, no other iOS text editor approaches the power and scriptability of my favorite OS X editors — Editorial handles everything I throw at it, and asks for more.

And mine? That’d be Pinswift: Pinswift is a simple, useful, and delightful Pinboard client for both iPad and iPhone. And the iOS 8 extension works great.

OmniGraffle 6.1 is live!

by Derek R. on November 13, 2014

Today we released a major update to OmniGraffle 6 that improves the app’s performance and makes it a stand-up citizen in Yosemite.

But the update adds much more than that. It improves and expands on the Inspector we created in 6.0 by making it completely customizable. Switch between the sidebar, floating inspectors, and palettes—where you can snap off each group to create millions—if I did my math right—of different combinations.

OmniGraffle 6.1 also includes new stroke options, fill effects, and blending modes. Blur, pixelate, magnify content behind objects, and add inner or outer strokes to shapes. The stencil sidebar includes search results straight from Stenciltown. (And if you have any you’ve created, feel free to share them!)

So that’s the update. 6.1 is free, requires OS X v10.10 (Yosemite) and is available now: direct from us and from the Mac App Store.