With hundreds of thousands of apps available for the iPhone and iPad, it may seem over the top to single out a specific app as a must-have. VIPOrbit is not your average app, though, and the capabilities it brings to iOS make me comfortable declaring it a true game changer.
First, let’s talk about what VIPOrbit is. VIPOrbit was developed by Mike Muhney, co-creator of ACT!—the software that essentially created the contact management segment. Muhney was frustrated with the limitations of iOS itself when it comes to managing contacts, calendar events, and communications. He also found the third-party apps available lacking, so he developed VIPOrbit to fill a need: mobile relationship management.
VIPOrbit integrates your contacts with your calendar, providing instant access to all relationship details, quick scheduling, and easy communication. You can initiate a call, schedule a meeting, send an email, or post to social networks, and have a chronological log of all activity associated with a given contact stored automatically. VIPOrbit gives you a comprehensive relationship history for each contact, and enables you to build stronger relationships both personally and professionally.
When VIPOrbit first appeared nearly a year ago, I claimed that the app redefined mobile productivity. I stand by that assertion, but I discovered that the fact that VIPOrbit was only available on the iPhone was a significant handicap to its underlying potential.
To truly take advantage of what VIPOrbit has to offer, though, you have to commit. You need to develop the habit of relying on VIPOrbit for tracking your calendar, storing information about personal and business contacts, and logging your various communications and interactions. While the iPhone is often the most convenient device, it doesn’t lend itself well to being the only device when it comes to adding and managing contacts and events.
The problem with the original version is that it was iPhone-only, and it is difficult to commit to using only the iPhone for all activity. Any emails or social network interactions I might have from my iPad, or PC would not be tracked or logged in the VIPOrbit app, and required a lot of redundant manual effort if I wanted to try and keep VIPOrbit up to date with my activities outside of the iPhone.
The iPad version of VIPOrbit changes things significantly. I can’t fathom using my iPhone as my go-to mobile computing platform, but the iPad fits the role quite nicely. In fact, while there are thousands of apps designed to make the iPad more functional as a mobile business tool, VIPOrbit goes a step farther and provides a strong case for using the iPad instead of a laptop as your primary computing platform.
There are two things that I’d still like to see for a next evolution of VIPOrbit. One of them is in VIPOrbit’s control, and I know it’s a high priority on the to-do list. The other falls into Apple’s court, and unfortunately I’m not sure if Apple is willing to make it happen.
First, VIPOrbit needs to complete the trifecta by introducing a version for PCs. It is a natural extension of having VIPOrbit on an iPhone and iPad to also offer a version for Mac OS X that can stay in sync as well. After meeting with Muhney for a sneak peek of the iPad app, I know that this is in the works, as well as a Windows version.
The other thing that would make VIPOrbit easier to use, and even more invaluable, would be better integration with iOS. Right now, I have to make a conscious choice to use VIPOrbit as opposed to the contact and calendar functions built into iOS, and any requests I make of Siri on my iPhone 4S rely on the default iOS apps. I’d like to have an option to tell iOS to rely on VIPOrbit as the default for these things.
VIPorbit for iPad is US$19.99 and VIPorbit for iPhone is US$9.99, but VIPOrbit is offering both apps for half off through March 1, 2012. VIPorbit Lite for iPad and VIPorbit Lite for iPhone are free versions limited to 100 contacts. VIP Orbit 2.0 for iPhone is available in the App Store now, and VIPOrbit for iPad is expected very soon.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you owe it to yourself to check out VIPOrbit. Try it, and let me know what you think.