Launch Center Pro

Launch Center Pro is an automation utility for the iPhone. You launch the app, then choose an action that you’ve configured earlier. Most actions in some way interact with other apps you’ve installed on your iPhone. For example, say you copied some text in Safari; you can have an action set up that takes the text from the clipboard and uses it to automatically Tweet that text. Or send it to Evernote as a new note. Or send it as a text to your spouse.

This app isn’t for everyone, but I love utilities like this and it’s extremely well done. I owned the original Launch Center and hesitated on having to buy a new version so soon after the original, but this version is so much better and it was completely worth it.

Launch Center Pro can also be used as a “launcher”, and many apps support only launching. But the real power of this app is being able to automate stuff. I have an action set up that once clicked, it prompts me for input text and then when I hit “Go”, it uses that text to search movies in the IMDB app. It saves time having to find, then launch the app, and then navigate to the search box and enter the text.

I have three main group: Search, Write, and Launch. As the names suggest, each contains actions that either search and app using the clipboard or prompts me for text input (for example Yelp reviews, eBay, the 1Password app or the Articles Wikipedia app). The Write group allows me to quickly start an entry in Drafts app, Quotebook, a new task in Things, a new entry in Day One and more. Launch is simply a group of apps I use enough to want quick access, but not enough to place on my home screen. I especially love being able to launch the Screens app to remotely view and control my Mac Pro, and being able to launch the app with the Mac Pro already selected, username entered and waiting for me to enter my password.

Launch Center Pro has a superbly clever interface for interacting with your actions, which can’t be fully understood in screenshots. You can tell they really thought this app out when redesigning from the original. Tapping on a group shifts the grid to the group’s items, and you keep your finger held down and slide over to the action you wish to invoke. It’s fast and clever.

The only real limitation to this app is the lack of “URL schemes” built in to other apps (which is up to the developers of those apps), and of course Apple’s iOS limitations. But LCP takes advantage of every URL scheme available (or at least a lot of them!). URL schemes allow apps to interact with each other in a limited fashion, typically launching them to a specific area of the app and optionally placing text from the clipboard or prompting for user-entered text. As the popularity of LCP increases, I hope we see more app developers incorporate URL schemes in their apps. I emailed the developer of web browser iCab Mobile about this, and he quickly replied that he would gladly add more support for these.

If you use any sort of launcher utility on the Mac (like Alfred, LaunchBar, Quicksilver), you will love this app. This app along with Drafts are my “get specific things done quickly” utilities and hold prominent positions on my home screen. LCP even earned a space on the coveted iOS Dock.

Launch Center Pro

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