The Hook-Together Edition Thursday, March 23, 2017

Apple Has Acquired Workflow, A Powerful Automation Tool For iPad And iPhone, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow today — a tool that lets you hook together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks. We’ve been tracking this one for a while but were able to confirm just now that the ink on the deal is drying as we speak. [...]

Workflow the app is being acquired, along with the team of Weinstein, Conrad Kramer and Nick Frey. In a somewhat uncommon move for Apple, the app will continue to be made available on the App Store and will be made free later today. [...] Workflow’s existing integrations with apps are extensive and will continue to be updated.

Apple Acquires Workflow, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Workflow has been the driving force behind my decision to embrace the iPad as my primary computer. Workflow is a shining example of the power of automation combined with user creativity and its underlying mission has always been clear: to allow anyone to improve how iOS can get things done for them in a better, faster, more flexible way. Workflow is the modern bicycle for the mind. There's nothing else like it.

The Case For And Against Apple's Purchase Of Workflow, by David Sparks, MacSparky

They could simplify it and incorporate Workflow into the operating system so everybody has a bit more automation but nobody has the vast library of options Workflow currently offers. We certainly aren't going to get the frequent updates once Apple takes the reins. [...]

If, however, Apple absorbs Workflow into the operating system with the intention of bringing real power user tools to iPhone and iPad users, I believe they could go even further than the current third-party version of Workflow. [...] Once (if?) Workflow gets inside the iOS security sandbox and becomes an integrated Apple product, Workflow could become much more powerful.

Apple Responds To Hacker's Threat To Wipe Millions Of iPhones, by Robert Hackett, Fortune

Apple is reassuring customers that its systems have not been breached while a hacker, or hackers, threaten to remotely wipe hundreds of millions iPhones of all their data, including photos, videos, and messages. [...]

"There have not been any breaches in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud and Apple ID," the spokesperson said. "The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services."

Apple’s Cheap iPad Is Tailor-made For Education, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

When Apple announced on Tuesday that the new 9.7-inch iPad (basically the iPad Air with a better processor and screen) would cost education institutions $299, I thought, “that’s interesting.” Then they told me about the partnership with Logitech and the new $99.95 Logitech Combo case and Keyboard. A custom-built device designed to turn the new iPad into a true ultra-portable. [...]

I’m sure that’s coincidental, but the intention here is clear: Show that the iPad can be just as functional in the classroom as a Chromebook, all it needs is this add-on.

Tim Cook Confirms Apple Will Make Global Fund Donations From Sales Of Red iPhone 7 In China, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Whatever the truth of the matter, it appears Apple will be upholding its (PRODUCT)RED charitable donations commitment with or without said branding.


Notes On Blindness VR (For iPad), by Tony Hoffman, PC Magazine

Notes on Blindness VR is a free iPad app that creates an immersive experience to help sighted people better understand the experience of blindness. The app is based on the audio diaries of John Hull (1935-2015), a writer and theologian who was completely blind for the last 32 years of his life. It combines eloquent clips from Hull's diaries, sound effects, and visual elements to explore some of the realities he faced while coming to grips with living in a sightless world. Notes on Blindness is an exceptional educational app that earns not only our Editors' Choice, but also a rare 5-star rating.

Swipeable App Makes Sharing Panoramic & 360° Photos On Instagram A Breeze, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Taking advantage of Instagram’s new carousel album feature, Swipeable for iOS allows users to easily share panoramic and 360° photos on their Instagram accounts.

Universe, A Mobile-only Website Builder, Lets You Create Pages In ‘Under A Minute’, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

Cohen said that a lightbulb went off when he realised that the range of website builders that exist today approach the concept in a very constrained way that is just “not casual enough.”

Super Mario Run 2.0 Arrives, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Nintendo has been criticized by some for making too few levels available for free. Version 2.0 addresses that criticism by letting players unlock courses 1-4 after completing one of Bowser’s challenges. Clear courses 1-4, and new Toad Rally courses are unlocked too.


Switching From A Japanese Keyboard?, by Ash Ryan Arnwine

Fifteen years, 4 personal Macs, and several company Macs later, I am starting to reevaluate my keyboard layout of choice.


Because programming and accessory availability.


Apple Setting Down Deep Roots In China, CEO Says, by Zhang Erchi and Yang Ge, Caixin

“We’re not just someone who’s here to access the market,” Cook told Caixin. “We’ve created almost 5 million jobs in China. I’m not sure there are too many companies, domestic or foreign, who can say that. … There’s deep roots here. I think very highly of the country and the people in it. We’re here to stay.” [...]

“You want to keep [globalization] going because it’s great. But we must fix this,” Cook said. “I do think there are ways to address it. I don’t think it’s an impossible task. I hope the politicians will put their attention on fixing that problem. … I’m optimistic. We must be. There are so many good things in the world. We just have to make sure we focus on the thing to fix.”

Maybe Apple Should Consider Selling Apple Watch Cases And Bands Separately, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

It's not a path that fashion watchmakers would follow — the band pairing is part of the art of the watch, after all. But as much as Apple's design ethos follows that of a fashion house, the company might benefit from adopting a more modular style.

We Need A Software Revolution For The Greater Social Good, by Jim Fruchterman, Recode

Even with these efforts, the great irony is that the social sector has not fully benefitted from what Silicon Valley does best: Using software to achieve scale and using the data inherent in software solutions to continuously improve services, identify new opportunities and demonstrate impact. That is the big unmet need, and the reality is that the social sector must learn from Silicon Valley’s software prowess if it ever wants to achieve the incredible lasting scale and penetration that the world’s most successful software companies have achieved. Software must eat the social-good world too — but with a focus on maximizing social impact, not profit.

The social sector is long overdue for a software and data revolution characterized by delivering greater social impact to more members of society. The need is especially acute given that so much of what the social sector does is push information around.

Bottom of the Page

You know that little button thing on the top-left corner of iOS which allows one to tap and go back to the previous app? I've accidentally tapped on that button more than I've intentionally tapped on that button.


I'm finally motivated to download and try out Workflow... Maybe.


Thanks for reading.