We had a chance to sit down with Ken Case, CEO of the OmniGroup, during the recent WWDC. We talked all things OmniGroup including the process they followed bringing their apps to the iPad, their plans for OmniFocus, and what else the future might hold.
Q (Jeff Scott - 148Apps): Tell us a little about how the decision was made to start bringing your applications to the iPad.
A (Ken Case - OmniGroup): When we started hearing rumors about Apple doing a tablet, we thought that could be interesting. We didn't know if it was going to be Mac OS X based or iPhone OS based. The touch part made us lean toward the iPhone OS, the larger screen size had us leaning toward Mac OS X. Didn't really know what to expect. So we decided to just be ready to evaluate it when it comes out. And when we saw the introduction and particularly when we saw the Keynote demonstration we knew yeah, this is a place we can put some real apps. So we made a decision that day and started working that week to bring some of our apps to the iPad. From the time we saw the announcement to the time we had to submit the apps for launch day there were lots of 18 hour days. One interesting way to measure how the apps were progressing was how long we went between code commits. There was a period there where the longest we went, between code check-ins, was 37 minutes. It was a lot of hard work obviously, but a lot of fun. It's not often you get a chance to do something like this for a new platform.
Q: One of the most interesting aspects of the release of OmniGraffle for the iPad was that you utilized the device to the edge of it's capabilities without ever seeing a device.
A: We were pretty worried about that. The QA team particularly. Apple did some testing and we asked them how well it works. They could tell us that it launched and that it worked, but they had no time to do any real testing of the performance.
Q: Let's talk a little bit about OmniFocus for the iPad. As far as I'm concerned you can't get it done quick enough!
The plan had been to submit the final version to Apple around June 18th, but some things got in the way. It will still be submitted soon.
I wasn't expecting the pixel doubled iPhone apps to look as as bad as it turned out. I was hoping that they would have done what they are doing on the iPhone 4 and pixel double the artwork but scaled the text. Perhaps once iOS4 comes to the iPad they will clean up some of the edges. Certainly going forward, everybody who is developing now for the iOS is expecting a whole range of screen resolutions which should make it easier for Apple in the future.
We got a little more information from Ken about future plans for OmniPlan and OmniOutliner for the iPad. But those plans are all still really early and we'll get back in touch as those get closer.
For now they are going full steam ahead on OmniFocus for the iPad -- and I can't wait for it. OmniFocus 1.7 for the iPhone/iPod Touch was just released with iOS4 updates to support local notification, some background processing, and instant application resume.