Kickoff for Mac and iPhone lets you manage work chats and group to-do lists

Kickoff for Mac and iPhone aims to streamline getting things done and communicating with workgroups. That means sharing task lists, splitting up who is doing what, and chatting about it in real time. Whether you run a small to medium-sized business or have colleagues in remote geographical locations, Kickoff has something to offer.

Kickoff is currently available for both iPhone and Mac. While both apps are paid, signing up for the service itself is free. You'll be asked to do that when you launch either app for the first time. After you're signed in, you can start joining teams or creating your own.

The iPhone and Mac versions both allow you to create tasks and chat with other team members in real time. The real value of an app like Kickoff is the ability to create tasks and to-do lists natively. Where apps like Campfire, Glassboard, and HipChat offer a real-time chatroom, Kickoff takes it one step further. It integrates a to-do list.

To-do lists via email and text aren't necessary anymore with Kickoff. Simply add a to-do for the group to see or that only you can see. Other members of the team can then comment on it individually or discuss it in the main team chat window. Kickoff gives you the ability to assign tasks to specific people as well so you can keep track of who is currently doing what. This allows you to see what is going on in a quick glance. You can also comment on tasks which will nest underneath them.

Most people who use workgroups know that conversation can sometimes become less work and more general chat. Kickoff allows users to private message each other directly as well as nest comments on tasks. This means the main chat window stays focused and becomes less diluted with general chat which can easily happen with work groups and teams that only allow a main chat area and nothing else. That means colleagues don't miss important information that may be lost in general chatter.

When it comes to storing data, Kickoff uses Amazon S3 servers equipeed with TSL/SSL. This means every message sent is encrypted and safe. There is also native support for social services such as Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Dribble, CloudApp, and more built right in.

The good

  • Push notifications are super fast on iPhone
  • Full integration with Notification Center in OS X
  • Drag and drop file sharing in OS X
  • Support for keyboard gestures and shortcuts on OS X
  • Dictation support in OS X
  • No monthly subscription fee, after you purchase the app you have complete access to all of Kickoff's features

The bad

  • You can currently only upload photos in the iPhone version of Kickoff
  • No iPad support

The bottom line

Creating a productive work environment online where you can collaborate with others isn't an easy task. The tools you use will always dictate how productive your employees are and unfortunately there haven't been a lot of great choices for small to medium sized businesses that don't want to spend the money on a custom solution. Where one excelled, the other was lacking and vice versa. Kickoff for Mac and iPhone may very well bridge that gap.

Everything from the user interface to how you share and collaborate on data blows the competition away. The only feature Kickoff is currently lacking that we'd like to see in a future update is the ability to upload files other than photos on the iPhone. If you spend most of your time on a Mac, you'll be able to share files but it'd be nice to see the same extended to iPhone whether that's through Dropbox integration or some other way.

Kickoff is by far the best chat and task management app for workgroups that is currently available in either App Store. We can only cross our fingers that they'll also bring this to iPad eventually.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.