I met and interviewed the co-founder and CEO of vipOrbit, Mike Muhney, at Macworld 2014. He’s the co-inventor of ACT!, a popular customer relationship management application that was revolutionary for its time, 1987. Mike’s newest venture, vipOrbit, was developed to address the poorly designed contact apps available on the iPhone.
The vipOrbit iPhone app was introduced in 2011. The iPad app arrived the following year, providing the ability to sync information between the two iOS devices. In 2013, the Mac version was launched, featuring a more effective way to add and update information, as well as, the ability to sync changes between the Mac and iOS devices.
vipOrbit is built around the concept of orbits, a way to organize your contacts into logical groups such as family, golf buddies, co-workers, and more. Orbits is similar but predates the Google+ social network, circles. According to Muhney, orbits help to build stronger relationships by exposing the interconnection between the people you know. In addition, orbits keeps track of all communications, voice calls, email, instant messages, and social media, creating a mini knowledge base about each contact. Selecting your profile will display all communication activities. This leads to meaningful interactions.
To get started with vipOrbit for Mac you will need to create a login account then import your contacts. The application allows you to import Apple contacts as well as Skype, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You will need to be logged into these social media accounts to successfully import the data. vipOrbit will automatically create orbits for any contact groups you have already created. The application can import calendars, calls, meetings, to-dos, and all day activities via the preference pane. This allows the user to manage personal events and activities.
The user interface of vipOrbit is user-friendly. The dashboard tab provides at a glance review of the day’s events and tasks. The contacts tab allows access to view or update contacts. There is a calendar tab to manage daily events. An orbit tab to manage and create logical groups of contacts and a contact search tab with logical search features. Selecting your profile tab will display your profile information as well as all your recent communications. Backing up your vipOrbit data is simple. The upper right corner of the application window displays the date of the last backup and a Backup My Stuff button to immediately perform a backup.
To create an orbit via the orbit tab, select the “+” button then provide a name and description. The contact pane displayed below can be used to add contacts. To delete an orbit, select the orbit then the “-“ button. Alternatively, the results of a search can be saved as an orbit. The search criteria can be any of the contact attributes, such as, name, address, phone number, email, or any user defined attribute. For example, I created an attribute to track the hobbies of my contacts. A search of contacts with similar hobbies could be saved as an orbit.
vipOrbit requires the user to diligently update the information to fully utilize the power of the application. The most effective way to accomplish this will be to import all of your events, calendars, and contact information, enabling vipOrbit to manage all your emails, phone calls, to-do lists, etc. The syncing of information between the Mac and iOS devices ensures you will stay on top of all of your important daily activities.
I would be remiss in not mentioning that during my import of data to my mid-2011 Macbook Air 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7 with 4GB of RAM running OS X 10.92, the application crashed a couple of times. Reviewing the crash file, revealed an issue addressing program memory segments. Diagnostics on the RAM indicated no issues. I ran the import again successfully. However, the app has crashed randomly a couple of times since. It appears to run without issue when Safari or Google Chrome are not running.
The iOS versions of the app is free while the Mac version is $49.99 with a free 30 day trial. That cost may seem steep but I’m convinced after using the iOS app and realizing its value, most will add the Mac version because of the ease of adding and updating via the computer. This does not belittle the iPhone or iPad versions. The iOS apps are fully functional and not stripped down version of the OS X app.
vipOrbit for the Mac is a robust contact management application that makes Apple contacts look like a student project. The Mac version is available for the power user who can justify the price while the free iOS version allows mere mortals access to a powerful communication tool. The utility of this product is
MyMac Review Rating is 7 out of 10.