OmniFocus for iPad is OUT…

OmniFocus for iPad is OUT … and I just can’t get excited. Why? Hmmm, let’s see … I’ve already spent $50 on the Mac version and $20 on the iPhone version and now I am supposed to pay another $40 for the iPad version?

To be clear, this is not entirely OmniGroup’s fault — though I haven’t really heard them protest this situation either. It’s really a function of Apple’s App Store and its inability to differentiate users. (Oh, to be fireballed and have John Gruber, who has become Apple’s pony boy in the era of the iPhone, defend Apple on this.)

First, note that I only paid $50 for OmniFocus and not the full retail price of $80. I was able to do that because the OmniGroup is kind enough to offer educational discounts. Can the App Store do that? No.

Second, one of the reasons I purchased OmniFocus over other GTD apps — some of which I think are actually easier to use — is because I was invested in the OmniGroup portfolio. I have been using OmnoOutliner and OmniGraffle from their 2.0 days, before they went “pro,” and I have enjoyed the OmniGroup’s commitment to their applications and their users. I have also enjoyed their upgrade pricing, which essentially offers users of previous versions of a product the change to buy the new one at a discount.

While one can upgrade an app in the app store, there is no way, as far as I can tell, for developers to distinguish between new users and recurring users and thus to reward the extant users for their loyalty to the product — which may not only have been simply using the app but also discussing it on their blogs or in various forums or in providing bug reports or feedback.

There is also no way for developers to distinguish between classes of users, commercial versus educational for example, on the App Store, even though Apple recognizes the difference in their own Store.

And must there, must there be a separate iPad version of OmniFocus? Without a question, from the screenshots I have seen, it is a thing of beauty — perhaps nicer than the iPhone and Mac version combined — but why can’t it be a universal iOS app? To be honest, this isn’t question of money so much as a principled orientation towards simplicity when it comes to the inventory of debris one trails behind oneself as we pass through this mortal coil. I don’t really need there to be two OmniFocus apps sitting in my iTunes library.

I don’t know if the lack of an universal version was a decision based on differences in screen size or if it was an economic decision — and here I will note that the steady increase in pricing of applications at OmniGroup is beginning to make me nervous, if not a little agitated. Times are tough. I’m glad OmniGroup seeks to pay its developers well, but I just may not be able to hang with them for much longer. My paycheck has been flat for the past five years. (And by flat, I mean flat.)

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