10/02/13 20:20:19

The Real Value of Omni Apps

Omni is updating most of their apps big time at the moment. Their decision to release all new apps as new apps without upgrade pricing and also removing all older versions from the Stores has sparked quite some discussion. Many people are upset and disappointed. I was one of them, and still am, albeit not for every product in their line anymore. Let me explain.

The problem people face is that Omni is not updating one or two apps, but instead we see a new major release for an app every week. This means that the amount of money we would have to pay to Omni is incredibly high (of course no one is forced to upgrade).

I bought OmniFocus for iPhone right after it came out. I bought many more apps from Omni. I am using: OmniFocus, OmniPlan, and OmniGraffle. I was asking myself how much are these updates really worth? Is there a reason to be upset? Can there be something behind all of this that would make a purchase justifiable?

Here are some numbers and calculations that I did. Most of this boils down to depreciation. I’m including release dates for all versions of an app, for completeness, though I’m only writing about OmniFocus for iPhone, OmniPlan for iPad and OmniGraffle for Mac. Relevant numbers are italic.


First Release

iPhone = 15th October 20091
iPad = 30th July 2010
Mac = 8th January 2008

Date of Purchase

iPhone = 12th November 2009
iPad = 17th december 20112
Mac = 13th december 2009

Current Price

iPhone = 18€
iPad = 36€
Mac = 60€

Price at Time of Purchase

iPhone = 16€
iPad = 32€
Mac = 60€

Value Over Time

The iPhone version came out 48 months ago, at its current price this means that the app costs 0.375€/month.
Taking into account the time when I bought it and OmniFocus’ price back then, the cost is down to 0.3404€/month.


First Release

iPad = 16th May 2012
Mac = 8th May 2008

Date of Purchase

iPad = 22nd April 2013
Mac = 17th December 2011

Current Price (price hasn’t changed)

iPad = 45€
Mac = 150€

Value Over Time

I’ve been using the iPad version for 5 months, but it’s been out for 17. So my version costs 9€/month, where users who bought at release day are using it at a value of 2.6471€/month.
The time I could appreciate the app was very short, therefore upgrading is bitter. (more on that later)


First Release

iPad = 2nd April 2010
Mac = 5th March 2008

Date of Purchase

iPad = 15th April 2013
Mac = 17th December 2011

Current Price (price hasn’t changed)

iPad = 45€
Mac = 80€

Value Over Time

OmniGraffle has come out about 5 years ago, after such a long time I think it’s more than understandable that a new version is on the horizon. I’ve been using the Mac version for 23 months. This brings its value to 3.4783€/month. Get-go users paid 1.194€/month.

Value Over Time Summary

By looking at the numbers it becomes clear that the “value” over time makes new major versions of these apps justifiable.

Release Schedule

Some numbers indicate a tighter release schedule. Just perceived or real, OmniPlan has been out 17 months before it received a new major release, OmniGraffle a whopping 67. OmniGraffle users got a lot more bang for the buck, if you will. OmniFocus for iPhone users got to use their app for 48 months. Not too bad.

I think the main problem customers have is that their old app just disappears from the store. “Customers hate the current method of paid ‘upgrades.’” - marco.org.

Despite the fact that a new version of OS X and iOS will come out/has come out and a developers’ job is to look good in the store. What would have been Omni’s options? Not bringing out a new version of an app, consider the huge changes to the operating system, would mean their competitors get an advantage.

I contacted Omni in regards to my problem. They offered a very (very) generous refund. That means I’ll be able to use OmniPlan 2 for iPad very (very) soon! Thank you, Omni.

  1. Fun fact: I bought the iPhone version, before I even had an iPhone. 

  2. I got my iPad late 2011, in November.