“In 200 Feet, Pick Up The Milk”- OmniFocus Coming To iPhone!

On June 11, 2008


For the life of me I still can’t figure out why Apple released the original iPhone with an application for tracking stocks but nothing for task management.

I mean, come on, even a Palm Treo has a decent to-do list. Sure, there are ways to use the calendar or email for some to-do list needs but none really work all that well. I just don’t get it.

The result of this glaring omission is that, since getting my iPhone, I have tried a number of different approaches and services to help keep track of my (always) overwhelming to-do list while on the go.

In my experience Remember The Milk and Toodledo are among the best and most powerful web-based to-do lists out there. Both work well, are highly customizable, and have versions designed for both full-browsers and the iPhone’s Safari browser. In both cases the iPhone optimized version makes accessing your to-do list while on the go a breeze . (In fact, I almost prefer the iPhone sites to the desktop versions of both.)

The problem is- both rely on a data connection. When Edge or WiFi are available all is well in the world. When there is no data connection, however, there is no access to you task list.  This is a potentially HUGE issue for me since there are many times in my day when connectivity IS limited. Toodledo (which I currently use) has an "innovative" approach to solving this problem- it allows you to easily create and print a paper "booklet" of your most important tasks. That kind of defeats the purpose… don’t you think?

As you might expect, among the iPhone resident applications I have been most eagerly awaiting are (hopefully) a resident version of either Toodledo or RTM. And, up until now, I have been curious as to which would come out of the gate first.

Today I got my answer… NEITHER. 

A resident iPhone version of Toodledo MAY come to the iPhone.

A resident iPhone version of Remember The Milk MAY come to the iPhone.

A resident iPhone version of OmniFocus IS coming to the iPhone and it looks great!

OmniGroup, the dev team behind OmniFocus and a number of other applications, announced today that a version of their excellent task management software OmniFocus is coming to the iPhone. According to the press release it not only works on the iPhone but will synchronize with your Mac over Edge or WiFi (and come July 11 3G.)

According to OmniGroup-

OmniFocus for the iPhone brings task management to your fingertips. Keep track of actions by project, place, person, or date. Bring up a shopping list, agenda items to discuss at work, tasks for home, and any other lists you need.

When will OmniFocus for iPhone be released? According to OmniGroup’s Blog

We’re still making some refinements, but OmniFocus for iPhone should be available on the App Store on or around launch time.

"On or around launch time"– that sounds really good to me.

I am thrilled to know for certain that  there will finally be a way to keep track of tasks on my Mac and my iPhone, keep the two in sync and have the list accessible even if a data connection is not.

That alone would make OmniFocus a major contender for "Top Task App".

But the application OmniFocus will soon be revealing does what I hope every application coming to iPhone will do- It Makes Use Of The iPhone’s Unique Features!I

In this case that feature is… (drum roll please) location-focused task management. That’s right, OmniFocus for iPhone will use the Locate Me feature to help with ordering and completing tasks.

Here’s their description-

Using your location, OmniFocus can create a custom list of actions to complete nearby. Buying groceries? OmniFocus can show you the closest grocery store and create an instant shopping list.

And if that doesn’t sound amazing enough, it will also, I assume, help you put your tasks in the most logical and efficient order possible. With gasoline at an average of $4.00 a gallon nationally that is more than just an issue of convenience. Think about it- at the rate things are going whatever the cost of the app, the gas it saves you could pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time.

So let’s summarize- OmniFocus for the iPhone will be a native application that will be location-aware, offer live, automatic sync and create custom actions based on your whereabouts.

It will also be one of the first application I will be loading onto my 3G iPhone come July.