Shortcuts, Apple’s new vision for Siri and automation on the iOS platform, is a new feature in iOS 12 that many power users and fans of the Workflow automation app will appreciate a lot.
The future of iOS automation
iOS 12 supports custom SiriKit Intents that developers can implement in their apps in order to inform the system of any potential automation points—that is, commonly used actions that can be used in custom user-created automation actions. Not only that, but iOS’s proactive assistant can suggest Siri Shortcut on the Lock screen based on your usage patterns.
Following Apple’s WWDC 2018 keynote, Instagram user “fletchergull” posted an interesting video that I’ve embedded right below. It demonstrates Siri on HomePod with the stable iOS 11 version responding to a custom command (“I need to apologize”) which triggers a custom automation script on other devices through an iPhone with the iOS 12 beta.
I’m very excited for Siri Shortcuts.
This could evolve into a powerful automation system across Apple’s platforms.
Paired with HomeKit scenes and custom commands, Siri Shortcuts could set the stage for a powerful home automation system akin to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo devices.
About Siri Shortcuts
Billed as a much faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri, users can chain together multiple actions and trigger them with a custom voice command.
Here’s Apple’s explanation:
Siri intelligence can suggest an action at just the right time—whether it’s to order a coffee in the morning or start an afternoon workout. Users can customize Shortcuts by creating a simple voice command to kick off the task or download the new Shortcuts app to create a series of actions from different apps that can be carried out with a simple tap or customized voice command.
Developers can add thee capabilities to their own apps by using Apple’s new Shortcut APIs.
Apple’s Workflow deal pays off
Apple’s unexpected acquisition of the powerful iOS automation app Workflow back in May 2017 left many people wondering what would become of the software. In another unexpected development, the Cupertino company folded Workflow’s functionality into iOS in form of Siri Shortcuts and a new Workflow-like app for creating complex automation scripts.
Even though Workflow for iOS is a niche app, it has a strong following so it’s nice seeing that Apple continues to maintain it and support existing users with compatibility updates.