The mobile app market looks so easy to get into but staying in the business is a whole different game. Never mind competing with rivals, sometimes you even end up competing with the very makers of the platform you’re building upon. Many a popular app ended up that way (hello, Night Shift), so perhaps you can count yourself lucky when you’re actually acquired by said platform makers. In that sense, the developers of Workflow are probably on Cloud 9 now that they have been bought up by Apple, though the long-term implications of the acquisition has yet to be seen.
Workflow is one of those hidden gems of the iOS platform, transforming iPads and iPhones into more than just a mere consumption devices. It’s an automation tool just like IFTTT. Unlike the web-based IFTTT, however, Workflow is closer to a programming tool, allowing users to batch repetitive tasks, create a single shortcut to launch a whole process of actions, and practically turn their iOS device into a productivity machine.
Workflow has always operated in a rather gray area of iOS, enabling actions that otherwise were not allowed or possible by Apple’s standards. There was always worry that Apple would make this or that change that would effectively render features moot. On the other hand, Workflow is one of the most popular power user apps in the market, so Apple really had to tread carefully. But in the ultimate show of approval, Apple has acquired Workflow, which is a rather surprising move for a company that usually prefers to create its own versions of features that effectively kill off third-party apps.
Details of the deal are not yet public, and neither is the announcement. But perhaps the most pertinent question is what happens now. Word is that Workflow will go free after the acquisition, shedding of its rather pricey premium cost. That, however, doesn’t speak yet of Apple’s goals for the app.