Apple has officially shopped an automation tool called Workflow for an undisclosed sum on Wednesday, March 22. It's a tool that lets users automate tasks, functions, and a string of commands by fusing together different apps.

Apple Buys Workflow

Workflow is easily the nearest thing iOS has in terms of customization options one can get on a full-fledged desktop PC or Mac, and now, Apple has bought it. Typically, acquisitions are more about picking up the people behind the product to leverage and subsume their knowhow so as to make the acquirer's products better. Just like when Apple acquired Siri.

But Apple is apparently swinging away from that route — it has opted to keep Workflow up on the App Store, and even decided to make it available for free, eschewing its previous $2.99 price tag.

Another unusual element of this complete acquisition is that Apple isn't playing the laconic card it often plays with new acquisitions. Instead of its usual, "we purchase stuff from time to time" mantra to truncate tales, it addressed the usefulness of Workflow directly.

"The Workflow app was selected for an Apple Design Award in 2015 because of its outstanding use of iOS accessibility features, in particular an outstanding implementation for VoiceOver with clearly labeled items, thoughtful hints, and drag/drop announcements, making the app usable and quickly accessible to those who are blind or low-vision," Apple told TechCrunch.

What Is Workflow

Workflow has been available for quite some time now — it was released in 2014 — and is largely similar to popular automation app IFTTT, which lets users cook up "recipes" that automatically trigger specific tasks when certain criteria are met. For example, users can set up a recipe that'll set their Android wallpaper to NASA's photo of the day, record texts on Google Sheets, or post Instagram photos to Twitter automatically. TechCrunch notes that Workflow has built up a significant chunk of users and downloads over the past few years.

Workflow nabbed an Apple Design Award in 2015, with Dean Hudson, Apple's Accessibility engineer, praising the app's handling of accessibility profusely, as TechCrunch reports.

While Workflow's app integrations are already extensive, the app will still be updated over time. The impressive thing about Workflow at present, however, is its ability to access "deep linked" functions of specific apps and integrate those actions together for a string of invisible hiccups, with nary a hiccup all throughout.

Why Apple's Workflow Acquisition Is Important

One can only imagine how Apple will leverage Workflow into its other services, such as its voice-enabled virtual assistant, Siri, which undeniably needs a bump in order to stand out among the virtual assistant crowd.

How exactly it would eke out those integrations is still up for Apple and Workflow's team of developers. But if Workflow's current praise is anything to go by, Apple might have just purchased a winner. Time will tell how Workflow worms its way inside Apple's ecosystem. But at this point, the purchase already spells that Apple is brushing up on its automation efforts.

Workflow is available on the App Store, now for free. Have you tried Workflow on your iDevice? What are your thoughts about the app? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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