This, to me, was by far the most exciting announcement in all of the keynote. Workflow lives on, and it is now built into the OS. The screenshots and the look of the app is very similar to that of Workflow.
Before I get into what I think, a bit of a history lesson is important to note. Workflow has long been a beloved app to power users of iOS and without it the iPad doesn’t feel like an honest-to-god replacement for the Mac. Workflow has become a pillar for iOS users to lean on when they hit a wall due to limitations in sand boxing.
Workflow is the bridge between the apps we love and allows for some powerful and interesting ways to get our work done. Without Workflow, I would probably still have an iPad as my main device but it wouldn’t be nearly as effective. It would be a chore to move things from one app to another, and this is why this one app is so important. It is also why when the announcement was made that this app would be acquired by Apple, along with its team, we all started to worry.
We have seen things like this happen before. A big company buys a team of very talented developers to join them, then the app is “sunset.” This has happened to things like email clients and other app that are a dime a dozen. But workflow is one of a kind. It is a unicorn of a tool that, if removed, would shatter a lot of people’s day-to-day operations. Especially mine.
Workflow has since been updated since the acquisition, and that allowed us power users to breathe. But when Siri Shortcuts was announced, a lot of people, including myself, got worried again about the future of Workflow.
There are a lot of questions still to be answered. Siri Shortcuts isn’t even on the iOS 12 beta as of now. But I have a list of questions I want answered before I can ease off on my apprehensive attitude on this new addition to iOS.
1.) Is this app going to replace Workflow, or will it just be an addition?
2.) If this is replacing Workflow, will I be able to import my current workflows without sacrifice?
3.) How powerful will this app be for automation?
4.) Can I trigger this without Siri? For instance, as an action in the Share Sheet?
5.) Is there a limitation on how many actions happen in a single workflow?
6.) There seems to be some kind of scripting possible with Siri Shortcuts, but what kinds of scripting is available?
I failed to watch the live stream of the WWDC session on Siri Shortcuts last night due to work, so if you know the answers to these questions, feel free to let me know on Twitter.
Siri Shortcuts is still an exciting feature for me. However, until we learn more I will contain my excitement for now. I just worry that this might be a “two steps back, one step forward” kind of change for iOS.
So I beg of you Apple, please know you are dealing with a delicate tool that could break a lot of our, well, workflows.