Given the fact that Apple recently pulled QuickPick from the App Store, all eyes are on launcher apps for iOS. In case you missed it, QuickPick allowed you to create iOS system shortcuts and add them to Notification Center, thereby mimicking much of the functionality that jailbreakers enjoy.
Apple didn’t want such functionality in its App Store for whatever reason, so it pulled QuickPick yesterday. There’s another app that worked exactly like QuickPick (only it looked better), but Apple made the developer remove Notification Center integration before it could be made available in the App Store. The app is called Launch Center, and it’s still a gorgeous app for launching shortcuts and URL actions on the iPhone.
Developed by App Cubby, Launch Center was originally intended to offer system shortcuts in Notification Center, exactly like QuickPick. It was submitted to Apple for review and, according to TUAW, it was rejected due to “inappropriate use of Notification Center.” Apple sent the developer a message about the issue:
We noticed that your app included inappropriate use of Notification Center, which does not comply with the iOS Human Interface Guidelines.
The developer removed the Notification Center integration and the app went live on the App Store yesterday.
QuickPick made its way onto the App Store and was downloaded many times before Apple even batted an eyelash. Many blogs highlighted the app over the last several days and Apple promptly pulled QuickPick. As my friend Matthew Panzarino says, sometimes it takes a trend before Apple notices.
It’s a shame that the situation wasn’t reversed, because Launch Center was a much better version of QuickPick. App Cubby had to remove the Notification Center integration before it could officially go live in the App Store, and Launch Center still has more polish and attention to detail than the other launcher-style apps out there. It just doesn’t have the ability to add shortcuts to Notification Center, and that’s very disappointing.
After playing with Launch Center, I fell in love with its simplicity. You have a total of 8 types of shortcuts to add, and one is for custom URL schemes, a neat trick we’ve highlighted in the past.
You can add shortcuts in Launch Center for making a phone call, message, or email. There’s also a shortcut for posting to Twitter, Facebook, and one for Google searching whatever has been pasted into your iOS clipboard. There’s even a shortcut for enabling your iPhone 4/4S camera flash.
The custom URL shortcut option is where things get really interesting. You can open specific websites or apps (tweetbot://, for example), and Launch Center includes a link to an online resource with plenty of URL triggers to choose from.
App Cubby has made a beautiful app, but the lack of Notification Center integration may be a deal-breaker for most people. If you’ve been looking for an app to sit in your dock and give you shortcuts to actions you frequently perform, then it doesn’t get much better for non-jailbroken devices. If you are jailbroken, something like IntelliScreenX may be more up your alley.
Launch Center for iPhone is available in the App Store for $0.99. Let us know what you think of the app in the comments below!