Omnifocus, Fantastical behind curve despite subscription charges

Maybe it is just me, but does it disappoint anyone else that despite charging subscriptions on the higher end of the scale, neither of them seem to be ready for widgets etc. While it is certainly not a big deal, most of their competitors have it together despite charging significantly less or offering free apps.

I thought the justifications for subscriptions was to keep them updating the product.

Yes, I do realize this is a first world problem rant


Yes, as a Fantastical Premium subscriber I’m also disappointed that Flexibits was not offering widgets on launch day.

A tweet from them last week seems to hint that widgets might arrive this week though:

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I think that in 2020, we should be kind to everyone, especially Developers who are working in the same limited conditions as everyone else, have had 3 weeks less (due to a late WWDC) over Summer to work on their apps and no notice of the GM for IOS 14 going live.

These things take time and I’d much prefer a later release of a solid feature than something rushed.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a 1 person company or a 300 person company.


Don’t know about fantastical, but for Omnifocus I’m still waiting on delivery of the 2019 roadmap (iPadOS keyboard shortcuts)
If they release a new version this year I’m not sure I’m not going to switch to Things 3

It sounds like some of you aren’t aware what the next day release of iOS 14 did to developers. In addition to launching weeks before many expected, they were only allowed to finalize and submit for review starting Tuesday afternoon for the release Wednesday. I’m surprised anyone had widgets ready. I know some of the ones who did worked all night.


I am aware, but it didn’t stop their competitors from getting it done


True, but it’s already been 6 days since iOS 14 launched. Even on a “normal” year, the new version of iOS would launch tomorrow. And I doubt Flexibits or Omnigroup will ship their updates by then.

2020 sure is harsh, but I expected better from them now that they’re charging a subscription.

Fantastical already has multiple widgets available via TestFlight. I know that doesn’t help you currently, but know that they should be released any day now. I think you’ll be happy with the multiple widget options they have. Also Fantasical has had pretty frequent updates since they moved to sub, complaining about a hang up on the widget end seems a little silly.

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I am aware of that, but many apps had been testing widgets and other new features for weeks before iOS 14’s surprise launch, which is why they were able to ship a stable release on day one.

I don’t want to come off as mean, it’s just that I couldn’t help but feel like it’s harder and harder for me to justify the subscription price when their competitors and doing much better despite a paid-up-front business model.


Yet the likes of Widgetsmith, carrot and Apollo all managed it ok.
Seems the big shops are the ones further behind.

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Maybe the level of ‘big’ is the thing holding them back? They aren’t one developer teams who only answer to themselves. I’m not making excuses and would like to see a widget from OF more than anything but we’re not even a week in on iOS 14.

Again, this is certainly first world problems, but it rubbed me the wrong way due to both of them being higher cost apps.

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I not overwhelmed by the widgets I see for the most part. So, if a developer takes time to scan the competition, get an idea of what works and what doesn’t by following consumer reaction, then fine with me.

Omni Group not publishing widgets is at the bottom of my list of things to fret about.


I think you’re obscuring an important point here. OmniFocus is not a subscription app in the way that seems to outrage a lot of people. They offer a subscription as one way to get their apps, but they also offer a paid-up-front model. The only thing you can’t get from them without a subscription is the web interface.

Second, this isn’t really new. Omni has never been super aggressive at adopting new iOS features. They do adopt them eventually (they’re not Google) but they’re definitely not always there on day one. That’s part of the tradeoff. Omni clearly puts more effort into power user features like adding JavaScript automation to their apps across the board and less into supporting new iOS features. You have to decide which is more important in a given app.

Speaking of:

I made the jump from OF to Things earlier this year. What finally pushed me over the edge was cursor support on iPadOS. I do miss some of the power features, but overall I’m happy with the move.


Exactly. Christian (the Apollo dev) is one of the all-nighters I was thinking of. He had to rush out bug fixes immediately after. Bigger companies can’t really work that way.

I am fine with Omni taking their time because their QA has always been there. Flexibits on the other hand keeps irritating me. I constantly run into annoyances and little imperfections in Fantastical which just shouldn’t be there given how much the subscription costs. They aren’t in OmniFocus which, as has been reminded in this thread, can still be bought as a perpetual license.

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I do think something is slightly amiss in the Flexibits engineering department. They don’t seem to be very good at troubleshooting certain persistent issues, anecdotally. I’ve wondered if they rely on some third party libraries they aren’t fully comfortable with.

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How can you put that last sentence out? You’re giving with one hand and taking away with the other…

I don’t want to pretend that I’m not disappoint with their pacing, I just wanted to avoid being overly accusatory.

Take a look at Things 3. It is 1) not subscription based, 2) maintained by a team rather than a solo dev, 3) experiencing the same disadvantages, i.e. 2020 chaos, iOS 14 surprised launch etc. yet they shipped all three platforms on day two iirc.

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… but Things 2 languished for years before version 3 was out and then regularly maintained…