When I shared our 2021 roadmap back in January, I noted that a roadmap is never a perfect prediction of the future: experience has taught us that our plans will need to adjust mid-year, following the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) where Apple shares how their platforms are evolving.
In that January roadmap, I shared that we were redesigning and rebuilding our apps based on the latest Apple technologies, particularly SwiftUI. The first fruits of that labor were the new outline view in the iPad and iPhone builds of OmniPlan 4, bringing more of our Mac app’s power to Apple’s mobile platforms. Each platform still has its own strengths, but our apps on those platforms share more capabilities than ever and we now sell OmniPlan 4 as a single universal purchase, which allows you to use the app across all its supported platforms: Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
This was just a start, and we continued to redesign and rebuild our apps using SwiftUI. Our next target, OmniFocus, is now yielding fruit with the ongoing public TestFlight of OmniFocus 4 for iPad and iPhone. Since mid-May, we’ve invited more than fifteen hundred eager testers to take it for a spin, and have shipped more than two dozen updates.
Which brings us to the present. At WWDC, earlier this month, Apple showed us the latest technologies under development for all their platforms.
By the end of Day 1, it was clear that we would shift our roadmap somewhat, to add support for Shortcuts to our Mac apps. In most other respects, though, it looked like our plans would remain intact: Apple had made quite a few improvements to Swift and SwiftUI, but they didn’t look like things we’d necessarily need to worry about right away.
As the week progressed, we started getting into the details. We saw beyond first impressions to the actual scope of just how many improvements Apple had made to Swift and SwiftUI over the past year: Swiping, Pull to Refresh, Markdown editing, Asynchronous APIs, and much more behind the scenes. Not to mention an entire year’s worth of bug fixes.
It quickly became clear to us that by leveraging the work Apple is putting into iOS 15, we could focus more of our attention on our core goal of improving the flow of using OmniFocus.
So, we’re skating to where the puck is going to be! OmniFocus 4 will take advantage of new capabilities in iOS 15. Until iOS 15 is available as a public beta, we’ll continue to update the TestFlight builds for iOS 14, and refine our design based on the great feedback we’re receiving.
Once the iOS 15 public TestFlight is available, we can also leverage its capabilities to implement features that were always part of the design but were not supported by SwiftUI in iOS 14. It’s validating to see how much investment Apple is putting into SwiftUI, and just how much it has improved over the past year.
With Apple doing all of this work for us, it also allows us to look at OmniFocus 4 for the Mac that much sooner. This will help us complete OmniFocus 4 across all platforms more quickly.
In other news, these SwiftUI developments don’t just help the OmniFocus team. They help with all of our redesign and rebuilding efforts across other Omni apps. Plus, our teams have been looking at ways they can use everything else we saw at WWDC—investigating things like SharePlay collaboration, toggle-style buttons, custom drag previews—which all show potential.
Of course, Shortcuts on the Mac fits right in with our automation priority and we can’t wait to add support for that too. It was a great WWDC. I look forward to sharing more news with you about our development projects in future updates.
(Feedback? I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on twitter at @kcase, or send me email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)