This year’s WWDC announcements saw quite a few Sherlocked apps – the colloquial term for Apple announcing new built-in features which replicate those previously available in third-party apps.
At least one developer is fighting back, however, announcing new features that it hopes will enable its own app to remain relevant despite Apple incorporating its core functionality into macOS Ventura and iOS 16 …
If you’re not familiar with the term “Sherlocking,” here’s a quick recap.
Apple’s predecessor to its Spotlight search feature in macOS was known as Sherlock. This would search the Mac, and also included a modest amount of web-searching capability.
A developer called Dan Wood (using the company name Karelia) developed an app called Watson, intended to supplement Sherlock by greatly expanding the Internet search side of things. It was a highly popular and successful app – right up until Mac OS X 10.2, when Apple incorporated everything Watson did right into Sherlock. At that point, there was no longer any reason for anyone to buy Watson. The app had been Sherlocked.
Wood complained to Apple, and Steve Jobs actually phoned him.
“Here’s how I see it,” Jobs said — I’m loosely paraphrasing. “You know those handcars, the little machines that people stand on and pump to move along on the train tracks? That’s Karelia. Apple is the steam train that owns the tracks.” So basically the message was: get out of the way, kid; this is our market.
The Sherlocked apps at WWDC 2022
TechCrunch did a roundup of the apps Apple Sherlocked during this year’s WWDC announcements, starting with Camo.
Apple’s new continuity feature will let you use your iPhone as a webcam, which was Camo’s main pitch. The iPhone-maker is partnering with Belkin to release a special mount later this year, which will hold your iPhone atop your MacBook screen. Plus, it will release an API for Camera Continuity so other apps could easily take advantage of this feature.
Klarna, Clearplay, and other BNPL apps
The site’s Ivan Mehta suggests that Apple Pay Later sherlocked a whole bunch of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) apps. It has certainly dented this market, but Apple only offers credit of $1,000 for up to six weeks, in comparison to other BNPL services which offer up to $10,000 over terms as long as two years.
The Remove.bg app let people easily cut out a person, pet, car, or a bunch of other photo subjects, automatically removing the background. This is a task that can be performed in photo editing apps, but is often a skilled and time-consuming process. Remove.bg made it a one-click action.
Apple has now made this a native feature in the iOS 16 Photos app.
MyTherapy and Pillbox
These are two popular apps designed to help people remember to take their medication. This feature has again been incorporated into iOS 16.
FigJam and many others
Freeform is Apple’s new app for collaboration that lets you and your teammates work on a digital whiteboard together. You can add your own notes, include photos, draw out doodles and even FaceTime someone directly from the app. It’ll be available later this year on iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.
Apple’s announcement comes months after Figma released its own collaboration tool FigJam’s app on iPad in March. Other apps like GoodNotes and Explain Everything also have similar features.
Oura and Whoop
Until now, services like Oura and Whoop — both of which connected on additional hardware like a ring or wristband — provided [more] detailed sleep analysis [than Apple’s built-in sleep tracking].
With iOS 16 and WatchOS 9, you’ll get better stats about your sleep, including the duration of different sleep stages like REM, Core or Deep sleep, and your heart rate during sleep.
Camo fights back with new features
Camo was definitely the headline app to be Sherlocked, but developer Reincubate has announced new graphic overlay features it hopes will persuade professional users to stick to its own app.
Reincubate, makers of Camo, have announced today the release of Camo 1.7 with deep overlay functionality. The standout features are a drag and drop overlay editor, a gallery of editable templates, a preview tool and hotkeys for fast-switching between overlays.
These new overlay features provide even more ways for professionals, streamers, educators and producers to boost their appearance on video calls, presentations, recordings and streams.
Camo Studio 1.7 for macOS provides video superpowers, allowing users to:
Jump in with 17 pre-built templates, covering a range of different business cards, social channel tags and side-bar presentation overlays
Edit templates or start from scratch, to include name, job title, pronouns and company or social channels with editable text, image and shape boxes
Edit directly from Camo without the need for additional design software
Drag and drop elements to tailor perfect overlays
Switch between multiple overlays with keyboard shortcuts while on camera
Use Camo’s Overlay Gallery to preview, select, organize and categorize overlays
Import, export and share overlays across the Camo community
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