Apple snaps up iOS app automation tool Workflow – reports

23 Mar 2017

MacBook logo. Image: emka74/Shutterstock

Workflow, a tool allowing users to issue commands across numerous apps to better automate a smart device, has been snapped up by Apple.

Apple’s latest foray into the world of acquisitions has led to the purchase of Workflow, a US-based iOS automation tool that won the Apple Design Award as recently as 2015.

Confirmed by TechCrunch, the move underlines just how enthusiastic Apple has been about Workflow since it saw the tool in action.

“When I first saw the app, I was just like man, this accessibility is cray-cray. This is off the charts!” said Apple accessibility engineer Dean Hudson.

The enthusiasm is understandable. Workflow lets uses create what is, in effect, a workflow of numerous apps, making complex processes such as commands across multiple platforms pretty straightforward.

In a statement, Workflow developer Ari Weinstein noted the three-year journey his company has been on, lauding the move by Apple.

“We are thrilled to be joining Apple,” said Weinstein. “We’ve worked closely with Apple from the very beginning, from kick-starting 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.”

Apple has been as active as ever in terms of acquiring tools and services this year. In February, it spent around $2m on Israeli facial recognition start-up RealFace.

The facial recognition technology will be used to help the Tim Cook-led tech giant to develop its own biometric software, allowing users to not only sign in with their PIN or fingerprint scan, but also by looking directly into the phone’s front-facing camera.

In January, Apple invested $1bn in a $100bn fund led by Japan’s SoftBank to support the global tech sector.

“We’ve worked closely with SoftBank for many years and we believe their new fund will speed [up] the development of technologies which may be strategically important to [us],” it said at the time.

MacBook logo. Image: emka74/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic