OmniFocus 2 and OmniPlan 3 are Now Free iOS Downloads

The folks over at the OmniGroup, which make several of my favorite Mac and iOS apps announced some exciting changes this past week to a few of their apps. OmniFocus 2 and OmniPlan 3 are now free apps you can download from the iOS App Store. Both apps are fully featured and fully functional upon download and stay that way for 2-weeks. After the 2-week free trial is up all of your data in these apps is read only unless you chose to make an In-App-Purchase for either the "Standard" or "Pro" version of these apps.

I own both of these apps and love them.

OmniFocus 2 is my task management app that keeps track of everything I want to do, need to do or want to do in the future at work and at home. I literally run my life with this application and having it on my iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch is critical for me. But all of the power and complexity of the OmniFocus app comes with some cost. First off, OmniFocus is a relatively expensive iOS app. I don't like calling iOS apps expensive because I believe developers deserve to get paid for their hard work. But that being said, $39.99 for the standard version of OmniFocus 2 and then another $29.99 on top of that to upgrade further to the "Pro" version is a lot of money for an iOS app. But it's totally worth it! (At least it is for me). Now, since the iOS app is free to download you can try out all the features of the app for 2-weeks before deciding if the app is for you. This makes it a lot easier for people who think a powerful task management app like OmniFocus might be a good fit for them, but they don't want to sink a bunch of money into it just to find out. 2-weeks is plenty of time to give the app a good run to see if its right for you.

OmniPlan 3 is a very different app from OmniFocus but it is just as powerful. OmniPlan is very similar to Microsoft Project, which is a super charged project planning, schedule and resource management app. This is the kind of app you use to schedule out a very complex and long duration project. When I was going to school for my Masters degree in Systems Engineering I used OmniPlan for several of my school projects. Most of my classmates were using PCs and they used Microsoft Project. But I was able to export and import my schedule with my teammates using Microsoft Project just fine while using OmniPlan. If you have ever used a complex scheduling app like Microsoft Project you wouldn't think it would be an app that would work well on a touch interface. Generally speaking this would be a correct assessment. But the folks at OmniGroup did a good job of designing the user interface of the iOS version of much so that I actually enjoyed using OmniPlan in iOS better than I did on the Mac. OmniPlan 3 is a $74.99 In-App-Purchase to unload the full "Pro" version after your 2-week free trial.

Even if you download one of these apps (or both) and decide to pull the trigger after 2-weeks and make an In-App-Purchase, remember that the OmniGroup has a 30-day guarantee on all of their apps. If you aren't happy with the app after 30-days just let them know and they will give you a full refund. Only a company that is confident in their applications can offer you that kind of guarantee.

You Get What You Pay For

In a world full of "free" games and applications, every once in a while you have to pause and think about just what it is you are "buying" when you download a free game or app. An issue I ran into with one of my applications yesterday made me do just that.

I've been using OmniFocus as my go-to task management tool for quite a few years now and have never had a lick of trouble with the application...until now. I won't go into all the details here, but I essentially lost a good portion of my data (all of my work Contexts were somehow lost). The good news is that OmniFocus has backups, so I could just revert back to a previous backup and recover what I had lost. Except reverting to the backup failed. I was now getting into the "complicated" fix territory. If OmniFocus were like most applications out there I would be stuck with having to email tech support back and forth. But not in this case. I was able to pick up the phone and immediately speak to someone in Tech Support within the OmniGroup (the company that developed OmniFocus). Within just a few minutes the wonderful tech support person at the OmniGroup had identified the problem (it was a bug with how their syncing worked) and figured out how to work around the bug. I was back up and running with my original data in just a few minutes.

Now this will really blow your mind. OmniFocus is an iOS app. How many iOS apps do you know of that have tech support that you can call? Not very many. But that's my point here. In a world full of apps that are "free", its nice to have a few apps that are really important to you personally that you actually pay REAL money for. That way, when things go to hell there is a REAL human you can call that can help pull you out of the fire. I'm not advocating that every application out there needs to go to a pricing model similar to what the OmniGroup uses (let's face it, they charge a premium for their applications). But they provide a premium service that I am more than happy to pay for.

OmniFocus isn't the only OmniGroup iOS app that I use on a regular basis. Here is the full list of OmniGroup apps I own:

So the next time you hesitate or just flat reject the idea of paying REAL money for an app, reconsider. You just might get your money's worth...

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