Will iOS 8 and Yosemite Improve Your Favorite GTD App?

Yosemite and IOS8

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*iOS 8 may look slightly different, but the real changes are under the hood. *

If Apple’s newest mobile and desktop operating system, iOS 8 and Yosemite, prove anything, is that the Cupertino company aims to take convenience to the next level.

The same has always been true of David Allen’s GTD philosophy. By helping you get organized, GTD stands to make your life and work not just more productive, but also more convenient.

This begs the question: Can iOS 8 and Yosemite help your GTD workflow? In particular, can the developers behind GTD-based apps use these new features to their advantage?

Needless to say, developers all stripes are already at work on iOS 8 and Yosemite. A Cultured Code representative wrote in a user forum “that the new look of OS X Yosemite isn’t a problem for Things 3 at all — in fact it looks perfectly at home. So there’s almost no additional design work (changes) required to make it complement the OS.”

And in a Things 3 status update, the company reported “that Things 3 looks very nice in Yosemite” and “we’re excited about the new [WWDC]a announcements and their potential for Things.” (My emphasis.)

Seamless switching from one device to another, made possible by Handoff, is certainly one such announcements — and not just as far as Cultured Code is concerned.

Described by some as Apple’s big pitch at the WWDC, such continuity will enable OS X and iOS devices to work closer together than ever before.

For example, if your iPhone rings, you will be able to take the call on your iPad or Mac. Or you can start typing an e-mail on your iPhone and finish it on your Mac, where it will be appear exactly as you left it on your iPhone.

“[iOS 8, OS X Yosemite and iCloud Drive enable] you to simply get things done instead of worrying about which device you need to use to do it. The emphasis is on cooperation, on both environments working together to make things easier for you.” —Peter Cohen at iMore.com.

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At the very least, Cultured Code’s upcoming Things 3 iOS app should have better Calendar integration.

Because continuity can be built into third-party apps, developers will be pushed to release apps that can deliver near identical functionality on both platforms. For example, Cultured Code could potentially take Things’ convenient Quick Entry and Quick Entry with Autofill features, which are only available on its Mac app, and implement them on iOS — I have to say, much to my relief.

Another important iOS 8 feature (and one that’s been often asked of Apple) is app extensibility, or the ability for apps to talk to other apps and to Apple apps.

Right now, apps can’t talk to each other or to default apps, so they can’t share useful information, which limits the platform’s ability to do true contextual computing.

But the moment apps can share data and push push files from one to another, workflows will improve dramatically. This is especially true for GTD workflows.

For example, it will be much easier for a GTD app to use information from the Calendar or event a third-party app like Evernote, letting you access project-specific notes and folders right within your GTD app of choice.

It will also be possible to add an app like OmniFocus to the share menu (which would beat using OmniFocus’ complicated Email Actions solution).

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Imagine having your Next Actions on the Notification Center rather than Apple’s Calendar and Reminders.

Both on Yosemite and iOS 8, a revamped Spotlight will give you access to all sorts of files. This would let you search through your projects and actions without you having to pull up your GTD app.

Apple has also boosted convenience by letting apps install widgets within the Notification Center, which will add new modules similar to the existing sections for Calendars and Stocks. While not a drastic change, this will also make it easier to have at-a-glance access to your tasks for the day, should you choose to add the app’s widget to the the Notification Center window. (The same applies to Yosemite’s Notification Center.)

Summary

In the end, the sky’s the limit with software development. That said, it feels as if the sky is suddenly closer now in terms of what iOS will facilitate developers to do, thanks to Apple’s welcome shift in policy. Had this change happened before, developers would’ve been certain to make the most of them. What matters, though, is that the Cupertino company has finally decided to give developers the space to do what we want them to do. That’s good news for all concerned.

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