Thursday night, I along with several hundred other geeks lined up at the Cartoon Art Theater for the debut of OmniFocus 2. After giving us an update on the events of 2012, Ken Case updated us on what we could expect from OmniGroup in 2013. For starters, Omni is working on updated versions of OmniOutliner 4 and a new document management system called OmniPresence which uses open standards to sync all Omni documents between devices and share with friends and colleagues. David and I use OmniOutliner to outline each episode of Mac Power Users so these updates will be most welcome. But the main event was the introduction of OmniFocus 2.
Ken admitted that one of the great problems with OmniFocus was its barrier to entry. Some feel they have to have "a degree in OmniFocus" to use OmniFocus and that can be intimidating for new users. OmniFocus 2 looks to lower the barrier to entry but yet still maintain all the power user features that have made OmniFocus popular with it's core audience.
The most notable change in OmniFocus 2 is its streamlined user interface. The new application has cleaner navigations and has borrowed a lot of the friendlier interface elements from the popular iPad version. The sidebar has been completely redesigned to give you an at-a-glance view of your categories, projects and forecast. You can immediately see what projects you have with tasks outstanding and what you should be working on. Forecast also received some noticeable updates in version 2 allowing you to see multiple days at a time, an entire month, or a specific series of days depending on your preferences. There is also a much stronger emphases on review in OmniFocus 2.
Keeping with the theme of lowering the barrier to entry, Ken announced that OmniFocus 2 will have both a Professional and Standard versions. The Pro version will keep the current price point of $79 and include Perspectives and AppleScript support. While a new Standard version will cost $39 and maintain the core functionality of project management, review and forecast. There's no set release date because Omni doesn't know how long the initial testing phase will take to complete but there is a private beta currently being conducted with about 10,000 requests for entry thus far. Once the private beta test has been concluded a public beta will be opened for final testing. For now, OmniFocus 2 will maintain compatibility with OmniFocus.
With the upcoming version 2, Omni has announced that anyone who purchases OmniFocus for Mac from this point forward will receive a free upgrade to version 2 and current users will be eligible for upgrade pricing at a 50% discount through the OmniGroup's store. Because of Apple's restrictions and the lack of support for pricing on the Mac App Store, users will have to purchase their upgrades through Omni's store.
I was very impressed with what I saw at the demo and I think version 2 is going to bring truly powerful GTD task management to a larger group of people while still packing all the power and features their current users have come to know and love.
Post Updated February 4, 2013 to add additional photos
Full Disclosure: OmniGroup is a sponsor of Mac Power Users