Ken Case
CEO
The Omni Group

kc@omnigroup.com



Recent tweets by @kcase on Twitter:


Recent blog posts by Ken Case:

OmniFocus for Apple Watch is now available!

Earlier this month, I shared that OmniFocus 2 for iOS is now available as a “universal” app which runs on all iOS devices. Today, Apple launches their most personal device yet, Apple Watch—and I’m very pleased to share that OmniFocus for Apple Watch is available right at launch, included in v2.5 of our universal app!

Designed deliberately for Apple’s most personal device, OmniFocus for Apple Watch brings your tasks into greater harmony with how you move through the day.

We built OmniFocus for Apple Watch to specifically address situations where having OmniFocus on your wrist is the best option, distilling it to the essence of what you need right now.


At a Glance

Screenshot of OmniFocus Glance on Apple Watch

Use the OmniFocus Glance for the quickest possible access to the shape of your day. When you’re in the car trying to decide whether there’s time to squeeze in a stop at the drug store before picking up Fido from the vet, the OmniFocus Glance comes to the rescue with the time and title of your next due action.


OmniFocus Today

When you have a bit more time (and another hand free), the OmniFocus for Apple Watch home screen fills in the canvas of today’s most essential items so you can plan ahead. Jog your memory about the juice boxes for tonight’s soccer game, or if they’re stowed safely in the trunk, check off that task!


Continuity

When you’re using OmniFocus for Apple Watch, you’re not using it alone. Actions you check off are also marked completed on your iPhone, and from there, synced with your other devices. And views carry over, too! Get set up for a meeting by visiting the Weekly one-on-one context on your phone, then put it away — it’s available right there on your Apple Watch.


A Relevant Presence

OmniFocus for Apple Watch is with you when you need it. Notifications — shared with iPhone — give you a gentle reminder on your wrist, just as you’ve set them up to do. Never miss an item on a grocery list, and never miss a thought for that new novel — raise your wrist with the OmniFocus app, and with a Force Touch and a tap, speak to add the idea to your database.


To learn more about OmniFocus for Apple Watch, please see the live web demo (at the top of our product page) and our support article.

The universal OmniFocus 2 app supporting all iOS devices is available on the App Store, priced at $39.99 for the Standard edition and $59.99 for the Pro edition. Customers who have purchased OmniFocus 2 for iPhone and would like to start using OmniFocus on their other iOS devices can use Complete My Bundle to receive full credit for their existing investment. (And customers who own OmniFocus 1 for iPhone or iPad and are eligible for a free upgrade to Pro after purchasing the universal app!)

We hope you enjoy this latest addition to the OmniFocus family! If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear from you: I can be reached on twitter at @kcase, or by email at kc@omnigroup.com.

Posted by Ken Case on 24 April 2015 | 11:33 am

OmniFocus now available as universal app for iPhone and iPad

Since January, I’ve been blogging and tweeting about free updates to our iPad apps to make them into Universal apps that worked on both iPad and iPhone. In March, we shipped OmniGraffle for iOS, OmniPlan for iOS, and OmniOutliner for iOS. Today (April 2, 2015), we’re releasing the last of those universal updates: OmniFocus 2.1 for iOS!

Screenshot of OmniFocus for iOS running on an iPhone 6+

OmniFocus for iPhone was our first iOS (or rather, iPhone OS) app back in 2008. With OmniFocus for iPad in 2010, we added features like Forecast and a dedicated Review mode to take full advantage of the form factor. Both apps have seen major updates since then, and most of their features have spread across the OmniFocus family, but now that Apple has blurred the line between tablet and phone devices with the iPhone 6 Plus it seems like the right time to combine the iPhone and iPad feature sets.

That means that as of today’s release, you can do the following things on an iPhone:

This release isn’t just about bringing iPad features to iPhone—we’ve also added a couple of items to both iPad and iPhone that were pretty popular with our TestFlight testers (thanks folks!):

OmniFocus Universal contains a lot of smaller improvements and bug fixes, too.

To try to make the differences between the new Universal app and the existing iPhone app as clear as possible, we’ve created a little table listing supported devices and features:

Different editions of OmniFocus for iPhone and iOS

For customers who already own OmniFocus, we’ve tried very hard to preserve your existing investment:

And, for those of you who already own OmniFocus 2 for both iPhone and iPad:

Also, please note that this isn’t a forced upgrade! If you’re not sure you need to move from OmniFocus for iPhone yet, that’s just fine: starting with version 2.5, we’ll be updating the iPhone app in lockstep with the universal app so that they both get improvements at the same time. (Version 2.5 will bring the universal app’s landscape support to the iPhone.)

I encourage you all to check out the new OmniFocus page on our site, to watch the app preview video in the App Store or on Vimeo, and to read our free user manual. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our support or sales teams—and you can always find me on Twitter as @kcase.

Enjoy!

Posted by Ken Case on 2 April 2015 | 4:06 am

OmniOutliner for iOS now available on iPhone and iPad

In January, I announced that we would be providing free updates to our iPad apps to make them into universal iOS apps, designed to feel at home on both iPad and iPhone. We shipped OmniGraffle for iOS two weeks ago,OmniPlan for iOS last week, and this week we’re shipping the third!

Screenshot of OmniOutliner for iOS running on an iPhone 6+

OmniOutliner 2.3 ships today (March 19, 2015) and is a universal app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch! We’ve worked hard to bring OmniOutliner’s design and features to all of your devices running iOS 8.1 or later.

To get OmniOutliner for iOS, please visit the App Store. You can learn more about OmniOutliner by browsing our website, or by downloading our free, comprehensive user manual. You can also watch 30-second preview videos of OmniOutliner running on different iOS devices over on our vimeo page.

This particular app release has been long-anticipated: we’ve been wanting to bring OmniOutliner to iPhone for years. After all, our customers—you!—started requesting it the day the App Store opened in 2008, and when we shipped OmniOutliner for iPad in 2011 it sold 10,000 copies in the first three weeks! But for OmniOutliner to be really useful on an iPhone, we felt it was important to start by getting a solid syncing solution in place (which shipped in Q2, 2013). And then to modernize the iPad app for iOS 7 (Q3, 2013) and finally to ship OmniOutliner 4 for Mac (Q1, 2014). All of that work added up to a much longer delay than we wanted—but all of that work is now done, and we’re very pleased to (finally!) be shipping OmniOutliner for all iOS devices.

I personally use OmniOutliner for so many different things that I struggled over what to use as the screenshot, so finally (as you can see) I settled on showing a sampling of all its built-in templates. But I’m sure OmniOutliner is new to some of you, so perhaps I should back up and answer a basic question: What is OmniOutliner?

OmniOutliner is a tool for writing structured text. OmniOutliner stands apart from many other editors with its rich outlining capabilities, flexible column types, and support for embedded attachments (images, sound, or any other reference material). Our customers use OmniOutliner to write screenplays, budgets, inventories, books, class notes, legal briefs and contracts, syllabuses, and speeches. (In pop culture, Veronica Mars even used it to track a suspect’s browser history.) OmniOutliner is also flexible enough that many of our customers used it to manage their own task lists (with scripts like Kinkless GTD) before OmniFocus came along.

For those who have already been using OmniOutliner on iPad, here are a few highlights from the release notes:

That’s three universal apps down, one final app to go. Next up: OmniFocus for iOS!1


  1. OmniFocus is already available on iPad and iPhone, of course—but we’re building a free update to the iPad app which will make it into a universal app which runs on both iPad and iPhone. Current owners of the iPhone-only app who wish to upgrade to this universal app will receive a 50% discount. 

Posted by Ken Case on 19 March 2015 | 10:00 am

OmniPlan for iOS now available on iPhone and iPad

In January, I announced that we would be providing free updates to our iPad apps to make them into universal iOS apps, designed to feel at home on both iPad and iPhone. We shipped the first of these universal apps two weeks ago, and last week we shipped the second!

Screenshot of OmniPlan for iOS running on an iPhone 6+

OmniPlan 2.1 shipped on March 12, 2015, and is now a universal app which runs on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices! With the Pro upgrade, OmniPlan can now import Microsoft Project (.mpp) documents created by Microsoft Project 2013 (in addition to 2003, 2007, and 2010)–and for the first time on iOS, OmniPlan Pro can also export documents to Microsoft Project (2013 only).

To get OmniPlan for iOS, please visit the App Store. You can learn more about OmniPlan by browsing our website, or by downloading our free, comprehensive user manual. You can also watch 30-second preview videos of OmniPlan running on different iOS devices over on our vimeo page.

For those who have already been using OmniOutliner on iPad, here are some highlights from the release notes:

OmniPlan is having a great first week on the iPhone, and we’re incredibly honored to be currently featured on the App Store as one of the iPhone’s best new apps (both on the home screen and in the Business section):

Screenshot of the App Store featuring the OmniPlan 2.1 release

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post about OmniGraffle for iOS, we’re really appreciating being able to test our apps with hundreds of customers now that TestFlight is available! Thanks to everyone who volunteered to help test our apps!

That’s two universal apps down, two to go. Tomorrow’s release: OmniOutliner!

Posted by Ken Case on 18 March 2015 | 3:34 pm

OmniGraffle for iOS now available on iPhone and iPad

In January, I announced that we would be providing free updates to our iPad apps to make them into universal iOS apps, designed to feel at home on both iPad and iPhone. The first of these universal apps is now available!

Screenshot of OmniGraffle for iOS running on an iPhone 6+

OmniGraffle 2.1 shipped on March 5, 2015, and is available on any device which runs iOS 8.1 or later. To meet the needs of our worldwide customers, it’s now available not only in English, but also in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish. This free update also adds support for the new Fill Effects and Filters which we recently introduced in OmniGraffle 6.1 for Mac, and fixes a number of bugs and other issues.

To get OmniGraffle for iOS, please visit the App Store. You can learn more about OmniGraffle by browsing our website, or by downloading our free, comprehensive user manual. You can also watch 30-second preview videos of OmniGraffle running on different iOS devices over on our vimeo page.

For those who have already been using OmniGraffle on iPad, here are some highlights from the release notes:

OmniGraffle for iOS has been very well received so far, and we’re incredibly honored to have been featured by the App Store as one of the iPhone’s best new apps (both on the home screen and in the Productivity section):

Screenshot of the App Store featuring the OmniGraffle 2.1 release

This is the first major iOS app we’ve shipped since TestFlight launched, and it was really great to be able to test this app with hundreds of customers. This let us smooth out the rough edges before we shipped, rather than having to scramble to fix issues afterwards. Our thanks to Apple for TestFlight, and our thanks to all of you who volunteered to help test our apps!

That’s one universal app down, three to go. Next up: OmniPlan!

Posted by Ken Case on 18 March 2015 | 2:03 pm

OmniFocus 2.1 update now available for OS X Yosemite

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:

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).

Posted by Ken Case on 18 March 2015 | 11:54 am

Omni Productivity Pack coming to iPhone in Q1, 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 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.

Posted by Ken Case on 8 January 2015 | 6:20 am

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

Posted by Ken Case on 8 January 2015 | 6:17 am