Finding the perfect solution for managing my to-do list is--like the list itself--a never-ending quest. Between my tasks for Mac|Life and routine errands like giving the dog his monthly flea treatment, paying the cable bill, and remembering the grocery list, keeping track of my lists is often a chore in itself. Sure, old-fashioned pen and paper work just fine for a lot of things. But since I find myself moving between several Macs--not to mention multiple iOS devices--in a given day, it makes a lot more sense to keep track of that stuff electronically.
OmniFocus for iPad was created from the ground up, separate from the existing iPhone app. And at $40, it’s certainly not cheap. But for dedicated users of other OmniFocus incarnations or even new users looking for a varsity-level task manager, OmniFocus for iPad represents the state of the art in mobile task management.
Now you have no excuse for forgetting that important thing you were supposed to do.
Your OmniFocus inbox is the place to quickly capture individual to-do items; OmniFocus calls them actions. From there, you can organize multiple actions into projects or leave them as standalone items. OmniFocus is great for adherents to David Allen’s Getting Things Done organizational system. You can add GTD-friendly contexts to actions and projects, which allows you to quickly pare your list down to just the items that you can actually accomplish at a particular time. For example, items that can only be completed while I am in the office get an Office context, then when I’m working remotely, I can sort my OmniFocus list by the Work context, which shows me everything work-related, except those items that I need to be physically in the office to complete. And if your organizational needs aren’t that complicated, you can easily ignore advanced features like contexts, locations, and perspectives, which are customized views based on complex searches.
OmniFocus for iPad easily syncs with iPhone and Mac versions of the software, either via your MobileMe account, over Wi-Fi, or using your own WebDAV hosting. At press time, Omni was also beta-testing cloud syncing via their Omni Sync Server service.
For users of the Mac or iPhone versions, OmniFocus for iPad is easy to grok. You can add or edit actions, and use perspectives and contexts to focus on appropriate tasks. We particularly like OmniFocus in landscape mode, where a customizable sidebar takes advantage of the iPad’s screen real estate to let you jump quickly between projects, contexts, and other views. For inexperienced users who may be intimidated by the desktop version’s deep and somewhat complicated feature set, the iPad version manages to pack most of the same functionality into a more intuitive interface. This portable version makes a good stepping stone for users looking to power-up their to-do tracking.
The iPad version isn’t without its shortcomings--having to move actions individually is a pain, and you can sync perspectives from the desktop version, but you can’t create new ones on your iPad. But it’s a powerful app that proves the iPad has productivity chops.
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Existing OmniFocus users have already taken the plunge, but the iPad version makes the app’s deep organization accessible for new users as well.
OmniFocus for iPad 1.0.2
COMPANY: The Omni Group
Most of the power of the full Mac version--on your iPad. Syncs with Mac and iPhone versions of OmniFocus. Easy to understand for beginners.
Can’t manipulate multiple actions simultaneously. Editing actions can take a lot of taps.