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March 23, 2017

Apple Buys iOS Automation App Workflow

Apple has acquired award-winning iOS productivity app Workflow and is now offering it for free in its App Store.

Although Apple never announces its acquisitions, the Cupertino tech firm today confirmed to Computerworld its acquisition of Workflow app developer DeskConnect. As usual, the company declined to provide further details.

WorkflowDeskConnect co-founder Ari Weinstein was a little more forthcoming.

“We are thrilled to be joining Apple,” said Weinstein in a statement to Tech Crunch. “We’ve worked closely with Apple from the very beginning, from kickstarting our company as students attending WWDC to developing and launching Workflow and seeing its amazing success on the App Store. We can’t wait to take our work to the next level at Apple and contribute to products that touch people across the world.”

Although DeskConnect is mum on just it will do as part of Apple and what Workflow’s future will be, there are a lot of ideas and much speculation floating around various technology sites.

Engadget had this to say: “On a basic level, it hints at the chance of built-in automation for some tasks in iOS — you might just tap a button to accomplish a number of tasks. That could be particularly appealing to iPad power users treating their tablet more like a computer. It may be helpful for home automation, too, by further streamlining control over all your appliances.”

PC World offered this up as a possibility: “Besides offering a standalone Workflow app, Apple may possibly look at integrating the technology into iOS with Siri being the key interface for many users, particularly for disabled people.”

Workflow, which was named one of the best iOS apps by Apple in 2015, enables users to combine a number of steps across apps into a single tap. Users can then “drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows” on their iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, according to the iTunes description. Workflow can be used to make animated GIFs, add a home screen icon for calls to a specific person, make PDFs from Safari or any app with a share sheet, get directions to the nearest coffee shop in one tap, tweet a song or send a message with the last screenshot taken.